Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Europe to be hit by ‘once-in-a-century’ extreme weather event every year


May 2016 – UNITED KINGDOM – Europe will soon be hit by deadly, “once-in-a-century” extreme weather events every year, a study has found. Severe wildfires, river floods and windstorms will affect certain areas of the continent annually by 2050, according to research published in the journal Climatic Changes. The study concludes the issue is at “historically high levels” and Europe will undergo a “progressive and strong increase in overall climate hazard”, with a particular impact on the south-western regions.
The researchers suggest key hot-spots will emerge along coastlines and in floodplains in southern and Western Europe, which are often highly populated and economically pivotal. Europe’s entire Mediterranean seaboard will be confronted annually with extreme droughts, coastal floods or heat-waves by the end of the century, the study adds. Giovanni Forzieri, lead author and a scientist at the European Commission’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability, said: “This should be a warning to governments and institutions tasked with preparing solutions and adaptation strategies.”
“In Spain, you will see at least two hazards every year by 2080 that – in the current climate – only show up once in 100 years.” The projections are based on climate models which assume Earth’s surface temperatures will rise by about two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era benchmark by 2050.

Europe Climate Extreme

Farmer suicides soar in India, as deadly heat-wave hits 51 degrees Celsius


May 2016 – INDIA – India has set a new record for its highest-ever recorded temperature – a searing 51degrees Celsius or 123.8F – amid a devastating heat-wave that has ravaged much of the country for weeks. Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land and move into the cities. Others have killed themselves rather than go to live in urban shanty towns.
Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. India’s previous record high was 50.6C (123 F), which was set in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan. The world record temperature is 56.7C, which was recorded in July 1913, in Death Valley, California. Human body temperature is normally 37C. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that heat-wave conditions were expected to continue for much of the next week in parts of central and north-west India, interspersed with dust and thunder storms in places.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that heat-wave conditions were expected to continue for much of the next week in parts of central and north-west India, interspersed with dust and thunder storms in places. Dr Laxman Singh Rathore, the IMD’s director general, firmly pinned the blame for the rising temperatures on climate change, noting the trend dated back about 15 years. “It has been observed that since 2001, places in northern India, especially in Rajasthan, are witnessing a rising temperature trend every year,” he said in a statement. –Independent
India Heatwave

Massive dust storm sweeps across Xinjiang region of China


May 2016 CHINA – The residents of the Chinese city of Kashgar were shocked to see their roads and houses disappear under the dust cloud within minutes of the storm’s arrival. Many locals began suffering breathing difficulties from the eerie ash-filled streets. The wall of sand laid a thick blanket of dust on Kashgar and plunged the city in darkness. Residents were forced to endure the severe sandstorm for hours as the choking winds swept over the entire Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in northwest China.
Forecasters fear the catastrophic weather event will return later this week. Video clippings of a major sandstorm that swept China early this week are garnering huge hits on social media platforms. The sandstorm swept across Kashgar Prefecture in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Walls of red sand fell from as high as 100 meters over several regions that also reduced visibility to a few feet. These regions included Tumxuk City and Minfeng County in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region besides Minfeng County in Hutan Prefecture.
China Sandstorm

Flooding kills dozens in Europe and Texas, displaces thousands more


June 2016 – EUROPE – Flooding across Western Europe this week has killed at least 15 people and displaced tens of thousands. That figure includes 10 dead in southern Germany, two in France, two in Romania, and one in Belgium, with more rain expected this weekend, the BBC reports. The storms have also hit Austria, the Netherlands and Poland, with officials saying climate change is likely to blame. A study released in March 2014 predicts climate-change related flooding in Europe will double by 2050, with costly damage that spans borders.
In Texas, floods have killed at least 12 people, including seven who died late last week and five soldiers from Fort Hood who died Thursday when their Army truck overturned in a flooded creek. Four other service members are still missing. CNN notes this is the second year in a row for 500-year floods to hit the state. “It just so happens that parts of Texas have seen them now in back-to-back years, and maybe even twice this year,” CNN Senior Meteorologist Brandon Miller told the network. “The odds of that happening are infinitesimally small.” –Huffington Post

Flooding Europe

500,000 in Bangladesh flee Cyclone Roanu; at least 24 killed as storm sweeps inland


May 2016 – BANGLADESH – Powerful Cyclone Roanu weakened Saturday afternoon after crashing into coastal Bangladesh, flooding towns and villages, triggering landslides and leaving at least 24 people dead across the region. An estimated half-million people fled their homes for cyclone shelters following warnings from the authorities. After the storm made landfall around noon local time, gusts reaching 90 kph uprooted trees, destroyed houses, and disrupted electricity and communications.
According to a statement issued Saturday evening by the disaster management authority in Dhaka, at least 24 people died across seven districts in southern Bangladesh. Seven people died in Banskhali in Chittagong district after a surge in the sea breached dikes and flooded coastal villages. Three people, including a child, drowned on Hatiya Island after seawater flooded their village. Mohammad Shahabuddin, an official with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s Cyclone Preparedness Programme, said that a mother and her 13-year-old son died on Bangladesh’s largest island of Bhola.

Cyclone Roanu 1

U.S. Southwest braces for heat wave with temperatures reaching 120 F


June 2016 – PHOENIX (AZ— In 120 degree temperatures, some airplanes might not takeoff. Power grids strain as the outside air keeps transmission lines from cooling. And for desert dwellers, a cold bottle of water and some shade can mean the difference between life and death. Parts of the U.S. Southwest, long accustomed to triple-digit temperatures, are preparing for a heat wave and, in Phoenix, officials are warning residents that the mercury may rise to 120, approaching Phoenix’s all-time record of 122.
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is warning residents to watch for signs of heat illness: thirst, red skin, cramping, exhaustion and a lack of sweat. The agency is telling local officials to prepare for an influx of heat-related illnesses. The Phoenix parks department is posting extra rangers at hiking trails warning visitors of the dangers and asking them to be off the trails by noon.

Heat Wave

Wildfires in California, New Mexico trigger evacuations


June 2016 – CALIFORNIA – Firefighters worked into early Friday morning to try to contain a growing wildfire in coastal Southern California and a larger blaze in rural New Mexico as hot weather fed flames that triggered hundreds of evacuations. The Sherpa Fire in California grew to about 1,400 acres (560 hectares) overnight after forcing authorities to evacuate 400 homes and businesses and to close part of the 101 Freeway, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and fire information center InciWeb.
About 1,200 firefighters were trying to keep the fire from exploding out of control as airplane tankers and helicopters dropped water, according to officials and online videos. The blaze, which ignited on Wednesday in a wilderness area northwest of Santa Barbara, has consumed chaparral and tall grass in the Los Padres National Forest, according to InciWeb. Because of the fire, officials said they had closed two state beaches and some ranch land, forcing out campers and horses. Southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Dog Head Fire, which broke out on Tuesday about 6 miles (10 km) northwest of the town of Tajique, has also forced evacuations and grown to about 16,000 acres (6,500 hectares) overnight.

CA fires