March 27th 2017
The fingerprint of human-caused climate change has been found on heatwaves, droughts and floods across the world, according to scientists.
The discovery indicates that the impacts of global warming are already being felt by society and adds further urgency to the need to cut carbon emissions. A key factor is the fast-melting Arctic, which is now strongly linked to extreme weather across Europe, Asia and north America.
Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have long been expected to lead to increasing extreme weather events, as they trap extra energy in the atmosphere. But linking global warming to particular events is difficult because the climate is naturally variable.
The new work analysed a type of extreme weather event known to be caused by changes in “planetary waves” – such as California’s ongoing record drought, and recent heatwaves in the US and Russia, as well as severe floods in Pakistan in 2010.
Planetary waves are a pattern of winds, of which the jet stream is a part, that encircle the northern hemisphere in lines that undulate from the tropics to the poles. Normally, the whole wave moves eastwards but, under certain temperature conditions, the wave can halt its movement. This leaves whole regions under the same weather for extended periods, which can turn hot spells into heatwaves and wet weather into floods.
This type of extreme weather event is known to have increased in recent decades. But the new research used observations and climate models to show that the chances of the conditions needed to halt the planetary waves occurring are significantly more likely as a result of global warming.
“Human activity has been suspected of contributing to this pattern before, but now we uncover a clear fingerprint of human activity,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Pennsylvania State University in the US and who led the study pulished in the journal Scientific Reports.
Kai Kornhuber, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany and another member of the research team, said: “We looked into dozens of different climate models, as well as into observational data, and it turns out that the temperature distribution favouring planetary wave stalling increased in almost 70% of the simulations.”
Large scale wind patterns are largely driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. But global warming is altering this difference because the Arctic is heating up faster than lower latitudes and because land areas are heating up faster than the oceans.
Recent changes in the Arctic are particularly striking, with record low levels of ice cover and extremely unusual high temperatures. “Things in the Arctic are happening much faster than we expected,” said Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, also at PIK.
“It is not just a problem of nature conservation or polar bears, it is about a threat to human society that comes from these rapid changes,” he said. “This is because it hits us with increasing extreme events in the highly populated centres in the mid-latitudes. It also affects us through sea level rise, which is hitting shores globally. So these changes that are going on in the Arctic should concern everyone.”
Other climate research, called attribution, is increasingly able to calculate how much more likely specific extreme weather events have been made by global warming. For example, the heatwave in south-eastern Australia in February was made twice as likely by climate change, while Storm Desmond, which caused heavy flooding in the UK in 2015, was made 40% more likely.
March 10th 2017
The UK's chilly spells have given way to Spring-like temperatures today as a Caribbean plume sent temperatures rocketing to 17.5C.
Parts of Britain were hotter than Ibiza, Turkey, Croatia and Malta, according to forecasters.
The hottest temperatures recorded today were in London's St James' Park, at 17.5C, the Kent village of Frittenden, at 17C and Heathrow, at 16.9C.
Temperatures in the holiday hot spot of Ibiza ranged from 17C to 19C today.
Istanbul, in Turkey, saw measly temperatures of 8C, with showers.
But the sunshine and high temperatures are not expected to last, with rain sweeping in from the Atlantic by Sunday.
Temperatures will drop back down to about 10C as we go through to next week.
A cloudy front will begin to move north and east this evening until it covers most of the UK, meaning temperatures will remain high but there will not be as much sunshine.
Showers are expected to remain at bay until Sunday, when a band of rain will sweep across Britain, causing heavy downpours.
"A southern plume has caught up in the weather system creating a warm sector and very pleasant temperatures," a Met Office spokesman told the Mirror Online.
"This parcel of air will keep temperatures relatively high for the next 48 hours."
But the warm conditions may not last until Easter, as the next few months look set for changeable conditions.
Wild weather threatens to hit the UK with a 'polar vortex' forecast and temperatures threatening to plummet to as low as -8C in the run up to Easter.
The ‘polar vortex’ - the North Pole’s dominant low pressure – is forecast to weaken, meaning high pressure will block mild westerly winds and allow cold air to hit Britain.
Below freezing temperatures could be seen in April along with expected snow - before a 'sizzling May' with heights of 26C.
Details of the 'mad' spring have been briefed to the Cabinet Office, councils, transport bosses and emergency services.
Jan 31st 2017
The government of Chile says wildfires that have killed at least 10 people are the worst blazes in the country's history.
Several firefighters are among the dead.
"We have never seen anything on this scale, never in the history of Chile," President Michelle Bachelet said earlier this week, after her administration declared a state of emergency. "The truth is that the forces are doing everything humanly possible and will continue until they can contain and control the fires."
Reporting from Rio de Janeiro, NPR's Philip Reeves said Thursday that hundreds of thousands of acres have been destroyed in the southern and central parts of the country and that an entire town was incinerated. "Reports say flames ripped through a place called Santa Olga, burning down its kindergarten, post office and about 1,000 homes," he said.
At least one body was recovered from the ashes in Santa Olga, according to Deutsche Welle, and about 6,000 residents fled the city as the flames moved in.
"This is an extremely serious situation — of horror, a nightmare without an end," the mayor of the coastal city of Constitucion told the German broadcaster. "Everything burned."
While fires are common in Chile at this time of year, "these have taken on disastrous proportions, thanks to prolonged drought, strong winds and unusually hot weather," Phil said.
In addition to local weather patterns, which themselves are shaped by global climate change, a review of Chile's wildfires published in November in the journal Global and Planetary Change warned the "pattern, frequency and intensity" of wildfires in the country "has grown at an alarming rate" in recent years, in part because of intensive forest management practices that led to a large amount of flammable fuel in the country's forests.
As of Thursday morning, Chile's National Emergency Bureau was tracking 100 active fires covering about 920 square miles, 30 of which have been contained, according to The New York Times.
The newspaper reported:
"In total, 4,000 people — including firefighters, troops and national forestry bureau officers — and 46 aircraft have been deployed to combat the fires, according to the National Emergency Bureau.
"Some residents, lacking any training or protective gear, have used tree branches and bottles of water to try to douse the flames."
The Chilean government has appealed for international help. The U.S. Embassy in Santiago said earlier this week that the U.S. government was donating $100,000 "for the local procurement and delivery of firefighting equipment, such as chainsaws and weather monitoring tools requested by the National Forestry Corporation."
The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Forest Service sent four people to "assess the situation and advise local authorities."
On Wednesday, a privately owned Boeing 747 "supertanker" plane arrived in Santiago to help control the fires from the air. Such planes are capable of dumping 20,000 gallons of flame retardant, Wired magazine reported.
The aircraft is owned by Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Global SuperTanker Services, according to The Gazette newspaper.
Dec 10th 2016
Most of Australia can
expect a hotter-than-average December, with temperatures being forced up by
both regional climate patterns and a global upwards trend.
Temperatures were forecast to peak between 29C and 34C on Thursday, the first day of summer, in all states bar Victoria and Tasmania. Melbourne and Hobart could look forward to highs of 21C and 24C.
Queensland would be the worst affected, with Friday expected to be Brisbane’s hottest December day in 15 years peaking at 38C.
Severe heatwave conditions forecast in southern and central parts of the state were forecast to continue into early next week. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warned residents to be mindful of the impact of heat stress.
There were also low- to severe-intensity heatwave conditions across northern Western Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory.
Almost all of Australia could expect drier-than-average conditions in December, with a 70 to 80% chance of below-average rainfall across most of the eastern part of the country.
Above-average temperatures were forecast for days and nights across eastern and northern Australia for the entire summer through to February.
The higher-than-usual pressures in the short term were the result of a climate driver known as the Southern Annular Mode, typically associated with reduced rainfall and higher temperatures.
It was forcing wind systems further north than normal, holding monsoon weather at bay while moving air far across the continent.
“It acts a bit like a wall that blocks the influence of the tropical wet season,” said Andrew Watkins, the acting head of climate monitoring and prediction at BoM.
The combination has resulted in severe fire danger for parts of NSW, Queensland, WA and ACT, and that risk would persist with the drier and hotter conditions over the summer.
The second-wettest winter on record had encouraged grass growth, prompting concerns about fast-running grass fires, particularly on the urban fringe, said Watkins.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre said the fire risk was predominately in grassland areas of Victoria and NSW.
Cyclone season is not set to begin in earnest until January, but Watkins said an average to above-average season – typically 11 cyclones – was forecast. Last season there were only three, a record low, because of an “exceptionally strong” El Niño.
“We don’t want people to be complacent because not much happened last year ... It was not typical by any means.”
BoM’s seasonal outlook for December to February also warned that “Australian climate patterns were being influenced by the long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures”.
This year has already been declared the hottest ever recorded.
Watkins said it was difficult to break down the impact of climate change on weather in Australia compared with local patterns and drivers.
“The reality is climate change is playing a role in all of our weather and climate these days,” he said.
Persistent heatwave can be very uncomfortable for both humans and animals, and there are many deaths caused every year by sustained high temperatures, you must do everything you reasonably can to keep your body temperature out of the danger zone, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and wear the minimum of clothing.
Athletes usually do all they can during exercise and push their bodies to the limit whilst this is OK under normal circumstances it is unwise to do this during a hot spell as the results could prove fatal, young children and the elderly are very vulnerable to these conditions and usually account for the majority of fatalities.
These conditions are becoming more frequent as global warming has a greater effect on our planet, so it is increasingly important that you are aware of the danger and how best to cope with the circumstances, try and find a position where you can rest as much as possible preferably with some air movement and out of the sun, it is at these times that we most appreciate the benefits of electricity keeping our fans and air conditioning functioning
Perhaps this stage we should spare a thought for the less privileged in the third world countries, and if there is anything that you personally can do to help these unfortunate people please do so, one organization that comes to mind Is water-aid who are doing their best to alleviate the suffering.
Have a look at our donations page where there are other not-for-profit charity sites listed which you can donate to if you wish, you will feel better about your day if you know you are doing some small thing to help the less fortunate in this world.
If you have never made a donation before you will be surprised how easy it is, everyone tries to make it as simple as possible so that there are no obstacles in the way of you subscribing.
If you look at the work these charities do you will find it difficult not to feel sympathy for the poor unfortunates that they are trying to help, do not distress yourself and feel thankful that there are people in the world trying to help.
If you are feeling sorry for yourself try making a visit to your local hospital and you will soon find there are many people much worse off than you are, whilst you are there to make a few enquiries as to whether they need some volunteers, there may be something you can do in your spare time.
Fortunately with modern communication systems most dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television. check these buzcall pages every day and you will be up-to-date with the many things that can threaten you.
The UK was hammered by almost 20,000 lightning strikes - but it is set to sizzle in temperatures hotter than Mumbai.
Thousands of bolts hit the ground throughout in a "fearsome" storm on Tuesday with enough power to boil 90 million cups of tea.
A total of 19,319 strikes were recorded in 14 hours to 9pm on last night according to Met Office lightning detection data.
Netweather forecaster Paul Michaelwhite said: “This was the most fearsome storm for years for the Midlands and North-West, with continuous lightning, floods and hail around the size of £1 coins.”
The Met Office said the number of bolts is seven times higher than an average lightning storm’s 3,000 strikes.
Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge said: “It was unusual to have such intense lightning at this time of year, with dramatic impacts.”
Meanwhile the Met Office forecast 30C temperatures for Thursday – 13C above average and hotter than Mumbai, India, which is set for 29C.
Wednesday's highs were around 32C followed while at 34.4C Tuesday was the hottest September day for 105 years.
The three-day roast is Britain’s hottest weather this late in the year since records began 165 years ago.
The previous record for the latest date 34C had ever been recorded was September 8, 1911, at Raunds, in Northamptonshire.
Spokesman Pete Williams said: “We’re very concerned about the accident call-outs spike.
"It seems drivers are losing concentration in the heat. Take extra care.”
An amber Government Level three heatwave warning - one tier below a national emergency – was announced today.
More deaths are expected after 536 more Brits than average died in the week temperatures hit 34C on August 24, Office of National Statistics data showed.
Public Health England’s Heatwave Plan for England said: “The rise in mortality as a result of very warm weather follows very sharply.”
And the Environment Agency has warned of more floods from Thursday afternoon and through Friday as deluges hit the Midlands, East and South.
The Met Office said temperatures would cool to the low 20s in time for the weekend.
Mr Madge said: “Thursday sees 30C possible for a third day – but Friday will cooler.
“A band of rain will cross the country, heaviest in the North, with fresher air following for the weekend.”
The Environment Agency said: “Showers from Thursday afternoon and through Friday across parts of central, north-east and the south and east of England may become heavy, causing flooding of properties, low lying land and roads.”
Temperatures reached 33.4C (92.1F) at Pershore on Tuesday afternoon, with the mercury predicted to reach 35C (95F) by the end of the day - making it hotter than Barcelona.
But forecasters have issued a yellow weather warning for rain, which is in force between 6pm on Tuesday and 9pm on Wednesday, due to the possibility of flash floods in northern England, north Wales and Scotland.
— Met Office (@metoffice)
The forecast predicts thunderstorms in Northern Ireland as early as Tuesday evening, with the bad weather moving east over the course of the evening and throughout Wednesday.
Up to 30mm of rain per hour is predicted in some parts of Northern England, Northern Ireland, North Wales and Scotland on Wednesday.
Along with the possibility of flash floods, the Met Office has predicted that some areas of the UK will also witness periods of lightening and hail.
The weather in the South is predicted to continue to be humid and warm, with highs of 22C on Tuesday evening and up to 30C on Wednesday.
The sweltering weather caused travel disruption, including rail delays at Paddington Station, one of London’s busiest railways.
The capital’s ambulance service said it had more than 300 calls than usual and the RSPCA also reported a spike in call from members as a result of the heat.
The Met Office declared a level 3 heatwave alert throughout the course of the day and Public Heath England has urged people to take care during hot weather.
People were advised to drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, close curtains and open windows to keeps rooms cool, and avoid leaving animals being in closed, parked vehicles.
There are also warnings to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm - the hottest times of the day - avoid physical exertion, and to wear a hat and sunscreen.
St John Ambulance has also issued advice, urging people to be aware of headaches, dizziness and cramp which can be signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Those with hay fever may suffer an additional pollen levels will be also high over the country for the next few days, causing havoc for hay fever sufferers - and there may be another restless night today as temperatures reach 22C (71.6F) overnight.
There are also warnings to stay out
of the sun between 11am and 3pm, avoid physical exertion at the hottest times
of the day and stay in the shade - and to put on a hat and wear sunscreen.
Dr Angie Bone, PHE's head of extreme events, said: "For some people - such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children - summer heat can bring real health risks.
"This summer we're urging people to keep an eye on those at-risk and if you're able, offer help to stay cool and hydrated."
St John Ambulance has also issued advice, urging people to be aware of headaches, dizziness and cramp that can be signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Clive James, from the charity, said: "Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars, so it's essential that people can spot the signs - such as headache and dizziness - and get them somewhere cool and rehydrated as soon as possible."
Pollen levels will be high over the country for the next few days, causing havoc for hay fever sufferers - and there may be another restless night on Tuesday as temperatures reach 22C (71.6F) overnight.
The hot weather has been caused by a warm plume of air that has worked its way northwards from Spain, the Met Office said.
Forecaster Grahame Madge said temperatures from London to the West Midlands could reach 34C (93.2F) on Tuesday, before thunderstorms bring up to 50mm of rain and the possibility of flash-flooding - with a weather warning for everywhere north of a line stretching from Bristol to The Wash.
He said: "The July temperature record was set on July 1 last year with 36.7C (98.1F) at Heathrow.
"We are not suggesting that temperature will be exceeded by anything we have got this week, but the temperatures that we do have will be the warmest we have seen in the last 12 months."
Wednesday will see highs reaching the low 30Cs, but by Thursday fresher conditions from the Atlantic will bring temperatures down to the more comfortable mid-20Cs, reaching around 22C (71.6F) to 24C (75.2F) by Friday and Saturday.
Bookmaker Coral has offered odds-on at 10-11 that thermometers will reach 37.78 (100F) or higher anywhere in the UK this week, with 1-3 that there will be a hosepipe ban this summer.
Britain is gearing up for a
mini-heatwave with 28C (81F) temperatures promising the hottest weekend of
summer so far.
Thermometers will rise - although a nationwide divide will keep the best of the weather to the south of the UK.
Hay fever sufferers have been warned to keep the tissues handy with very high pollen levels forecast over the next few days.
Southern England can expect temperatures of 28C (81F) by Sunday, with the north slightly cooler at 21C (70F).
With high humidity, experts say it could feel close to 31C (88F) in parts of Britain as warm air floods in from the Continent.
However, rather than wall-to-wall sunshine and blue skies, forecasters predict another muggy, overcast and showery mix.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said this weekend is likely to bring the hottest day of the year so far.
He said: "Temperatures are set to rise significantly as summer returns to many parts of the country towards the weekend. Maximum temperatures should approach the high 20Cs in parts of southern England with other parts of the country seeing highs in the mid 20Cs."
"This is likely to bring the hottest day of the year."
Forecaster Emma Sharples said: "Towards the weekend the south will be in a warm, humid air mass and it won't take much to make temperatures jump into the 20Cs in the sunshine.
"We will probably end up with a bit of a split over the weekend with fresher conditions in the north while the south is warmer and more humid."
The Met Office is predicting very high pollen levels across southern England over the next few days with moderate to high levels elsewhere.
The changeable conditions are being blamed on low pressure over the Atlantic pulling unsettled weather fronts across Britain.
Netweather is forecasting a return to "summer-like" weather this weekend with warmth lasting into next week.
It said humidity of more than 90 per cent particularly in the southeast will make it feel close to 31C in some spots.
Forecaster Nick Finnis said: "On Sunday, we could be looking at temperatures reaching 25-27C across southern England, so hopefully a return to more summer-like conditions - the fine and warm conditions perhaps lasting into next week towards the south."
The mixed forecasts have kept bookies on their toes through summer as bets open on this month turning out to be a wet one.
Ladbrokes is offering 5-1 on the wettest July on record, with 2-1 on it turning out to be the warmest and 8-11 on the mercury hitting 30C by the end of the month.
Spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said: "Blighty's had beautiful weather recently but with Mother Nature deciding that the heavens should open we've been forced to open the betting on July being the wettest ever, as well as the warmest ever.
"Punters remain confident that the mercury will soar to 30C before the month's out, which is great news for sunseekers out there."
Dig out your sunnies and fire up the
barbecue because Britain is set for its hottest May in more than 170 years.
After a stellar start to the summer, forecasters are giving sun seekers more reason to be cheerful, promising “heat wave after heat wave” throughout June and July.
But the onslaught of sweltering temperatures will return next week, they say, with thermometers expected to skyrocket to 30C.
Britain is set for a 33C hot summer boosting Wimbledon and Glastonbury - but the August school holiday could be in peril because of La Nina floods.
The Met Office long-range forecast - Britain’s most anticipated verdict on summer weather - favours hotter than normal temperatures over the next three months.
Government weathermen also said there is a 25% probability of temperatures being much higher than usual until the end of July.
Highs around 33C are expected as in previous years.
Temperatures of 36.7C were recorded in July 2015, 32C in July 2014, 33C in July 2013, 31C in July 2012, and 33C in June 2011.
The upbeat forecast is good news for revellers enjoying the Queen’s 90th Birthday Parade in June, Glastonbury, Wimbledon and the start of the school holidays.
A heatwave has Australia gripped in a seemingly endless summer, with a run of record-breaking temperatures even as autumn officially begins.
The Bureau of Meteorology has said the abnormal conditions were affecting almost the entire country in early March, the month which marks the start of autumn.
A lack of rain and cooler winds left the east coast suffering a prolonged stretch of hot and humid weather, it said in a special climate statement released on Friday.
Bureau climatologist Blair Trewin said Tuesday the heat was consistent with the "well-established warming trend in long-term average temperatures" in Australia and globally.
"With overall warming average temperatures you would expect to see more warm extremes and fewer cold extremes -- and that's exactly what we are seeing," Trewin told AFP.
The bureau said the extreme phase of the national heatwave ended around March 9-10, but temperatures remained generally above average.
On the east coast, Sydney continued to sweat with its Observatory Hill post notching up a record 39 consecutive days of the temperature reaching 26 degrees Celsius (79F) or above.
The previous record was 19 days set in March 2014.
"Sydney also had a record run of nights above 20 (Celsius)," said Trewin. "They had a run of 25 nights in a row above 20 which was terminated this morning by the narrowest possible margin -- it was 19.9."
Trewin said it was too early to say whether this would be the nation's hottest March, but a number of records had already been smashed with temperatures running 10 degrees above average in some areas.
The report said that over hottest part of the heatwave, maximum temperatures were 4 degrees Celsius or more above average over most of the continent but 8-12 degrees Celsius above average in much of the southeast.
The report said rainfall was significantly below normal in the country's tropical north, with the northern city of Darwin experiencing its driest January-February since 1965.
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