05 March 2008

Weather whirligig 3

Another spin on the Weather Whirligig. This is an occasional series where the idea here is to note extreme or unusual weather events that occur globally. As usual, inclusion here is not meant to imply some sort of direct cause-and-effect with climate change. Individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change.

Europe has seen some unusual weather during February. The UK saw periods of icy cold interspersed with near-record high temperatures. Many spring flowers there bloomed early, only to be thwarted by the cold. Further south in Greece, Athens received a rare 10-15 cm of snow resulting in school closures and transport disruption. A strong windstorm -- so-called Hurricane Emma – roared through central Europe in early March, killing 9 people. This wasn't a tropical cyclone, rather a deep mid-latitude cyclone (<970 hPa).

Madagascar was affected by a tropical cyclone (Ivan). At least 60 have been a killed as a result of the storm. From the story (my emphasis)

Ivan, one of the biggest cyclones ever to hit Madagascar, was packing winds that topped 125 mph (200 kph) when it swept onto the giant Indian Ocean island's east coast early last week.

In a particularly strange event, torrential rain and floods have left 16 dead in Peru. This has apparently been ongoing since January. Here is the strange part:

The La Nina weather phenomenon, characterized by cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has been blamed for exacerbating rainy seasons in the Andes region this year.

This is nearly unprecedented. Rainy weather over South America is expected during the El Nino phase. La Nina brings cooler than normal sea temperatures to the Eastern Pacific. Something unexpected is certainly going on. Ocean temperatures have only recently returned to normal in the region as the La Nina begins to decay

Finally, several anomalous wildfires have been noted around the globe.


Image: Spiegel Online International

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