23 January 2008

Weather Whirligig 1

This is the first in what will be an informal series of posts with the aim of providing quasi-periodic updates of the unusual weather which (seemingly) occurs with ever-increasing frequency. The posts will be somewhat 'bare-boned', a simple record of unusual, high-impact and/or disastrous weather events provided for future reference. My commentary will be minimal in these posts. I will aim for a weekly/fortnightly time scale.

I am not trying to make any claim that any particular event included is a response to climate change. Rather, I think the record will speak for itself. A log of events such as this will help to ascertain the validity of such claims. Agencies such as the Red Cross and Munich Re are already making such claim. I have made them myself.

By February or March during the typical rainy season [in southern Africa], the intense rain puddles on the saturated ground and pushes brimming rivers, reservoirs, and lakes over their banks. In 2008, the floods began in January. These floods killed 6 people in Mozambique and are the worst since 2000-1. Image above is a before/after set from these floods.

Heavy rains and flooding in northeast Australia have been both a blessing and a curse for drought-hit farmers, but more rain is needed to break a seven-year drought. The floods are continuing in central Queensland (two weeks after this story initially ran), as remnants of a tropical cyclone moved southward over the continent. The flooding and heavy rain in eastern Australia are historically associated with mature La Nina conditions similar to those being currently observed.

There have been a number of deaths and considerable damage to crops in the Middle East as temperatures in the region fall to exceptional lows...In Syria, temperatures have dropped to minus 16 degrees Celsius [and t]here has been widespread damage to crops in Syria, Jordan and Israel.

Cold weather and heavy snow have struck unusually large swathes of central and eastern China, causing fatal accidents, bringing down power lines and destroying crops.

Image: EO Natural Hazards

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