Monday, January 31, 2011

Climate change: 2011 bodes more weather anomalies

The world is finally coming to terms with an inconvenient truth. Across the globe, leaders are waking up to the fact that global warming is a real threat. And its impact is palpable, often immediate—disasters and human suffering carried live on television or the Internet almost as they occur. Last month, as the United States prepared for Christmas, its East Coast was buried under the avalanche of gale-force blizzards. This record snowfall was a reprise of a wintry assault that devastated major cities in the mid-Atlantic region in February last year. In July last year, an intense heat wave spread from Maine to Pennsylvania. By the following month, the continuing drought shrank Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir in Nevada and Arizona, by a significant margin. Then in spring, torrential rains unleashed floods across southeast America even as summer heat waves ravaged much of the northern hemisphere. As 2011 approached, thousands in Queensland, Australia, suddenly found themselves marooned by floodwaters of Tropical Cyclone “Tasha,” which eventually swamped a vast land area equivalent to France and Germany combined. While diplomats and scientists pondered over an accord that could replace the Kyoto Protocol, 19 nations were experiencing unusually high temperatures, including 53.5 degrees Celsius in Pakistan, the hottest ever in Asia. In Pakistan, record monsoon rains destroyed infrastructure, left thousands dead and millions homeless. In Eastern Europe, Russia suffered its hottest year in 1,000 years of history. At least 10,000 people died from Moscow’s heat phenomenon. Wildfires erupted across the country, heavily damaging its wheat crop and forcing Moscow to impose an export ban that raised global wheat prices.

In Baguio City - Philippines, millions worth of fruits and vegetables were ruined by heavy frost of an unseasonably cold weather. More than a week of abnormally heavy rains left 33 dead last December. About 70,000 fled the flash floods and landslides in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Albay. Read More..