Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

Economy 6 June 2018

“A worldwide escalation of the trade tensions between the US and its major trading partners would have consequences for global trade equivalent to the 2008 financial crisis, the World Bank has warned.

“Using conservative estimates to assess the risks to the world economy from rising economic nationalism of the kind promoted by Donald Trump, the Washington-based organisation warned of “severe consequences” for world trade and economic growth, with the harshest impact reserved for developing nations.

“Under the scenario outlined in its latest global economic prospects report published on Tuesday, the bank found a broad-based increase in the use of import tariffs worldwide – to the maximum levels permitted by the World Trade Organisation – would trigger a decline in global trade amounting to 9%.

“While that would be similar to the drop experienced during the financial crisis of 2008-09, it warned the impact could be even greater if countries went further than the WTO rules…”


“It is increasingly difficult to justify the complacency in global financial markets in the light of the magnitude and potential significance of events in the United States, Europe and beyond which could be defining elements of the next global financial crisis.”


“The Federal Reserve’s next interest rate increase will mark a key milestone as the era of cheap dollars draws to a close, further unsettling a U.S. bond market already rattled by rising inflation and government debt supply… Next Wednesday the U.S. central bank will likely raise key overnight borrowing costs to roughly match its target for inflation, meaning that for the first time in almost a decade the cost of borrowing dollars will no longer be essentially free.”


“Foreign investors pulled $12.3 billion from emerging markets last month — the largest outflow since November 2016, according to the Institute of International Finance.”


“Pro-business leaders in South America’s largest economies are struggling to spark growth as their policies run head-on into domestic crises and emerging market turbulence.”


“Brazil’s extraordinary efforts to shore up its currency weren’t enough to stem a rout that left the real at the weakest level since former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016.”


“… monetary policy tightening in the United States is pressuring the currencies of emerging markets: the Turkish lira is down more than 18% against the USD year-to-date (and more than half its value since 2013). This in turn makes it harder for Turkish companies to service their foreign debt. Currency depreciation coupled with rising oil prices have also contributed to widening the country’s current account deficit.””


“South Africa’s economy contracted at the sharpest rate in almost a decade in the first three months of the year, according to official statistics, underlining the challenge confronting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to revive growth.”


“A financial crisis due to US dollar shortages is likely to occur in Asia, which seems to be in a similar situation as it was on the eve of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. The approaching crisis has profound and complicated implications.”


“A growing number of private firms [in China] could face cash flow problems in the second half of the year as they are the most vulnerable to the government’s crackdown on shadow banking.”


“Japan’s household spending unexpectedly contracted in April and services sector activity slowed in May, figures out on Tuesday showed, raising the possibility of the economy falling into recession this quarter.”


“Australian new home sales fell heavily in April, adding to a long list of housing market indicators that are weakening at present.”


“One would have thought, in the circumstances, that bankers might have learned their lesson. Yet some bankers still seem to think that big is better. The Financial Times reported this week that UniCredit, based in Milan and with operations across Europe, is pursuing a possible merger with Société Générale, based in Paris and also with operations across the continent.”


“In 2008 and 2009, after the global financial crisis brought RBS close to the brink of collapse, the British government spent £45.5 billion ($60.9 billion) in taxpayer funds to bail it out. Now, the government’s determination to sell down its majority stake in the troubled lender is saddling the state with heavy losses.”


“…my analysis produced some alarming results. The safety net… struggles to cope with widespread shocks. Providing the same level of support today that was provided during the Asian financial crisis would exhaust all currency swap lines, all regional mechanisms, all regional development banks and the entire World Bank, and would require exceptional access to the IMF’s resources. If the European debt crisis occurred today, the entire global financial safety net would be exhausted.”


Read yesterday’s economy post here.

Climate 5 June 2018

“May and April of 2018 were the hottest in Germany since records began in 1881, the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Monday…

“”In the last few years we have been experiencing a series of climate records that collectively can only be understood in the context of climate change,” said DWD’s Deputy President Paul Becker.

“DWD said that not only had April and May been extremely hot months, but they had seen extreme weather events such as torrential rains and severe thunderstorms.”


“A man has died in the flash flooding hitting much of the country, after his car overturned in an accident on a flooded road… A record 588km of traffic jams were recorded in Ile-de-France this morning, largely due to the heavy rain still falling in the region.”


“To put the stormy period in context, the month of May saw 182,000 lightning strikes touch the ground. That’s double the previous record for a month of May.”


“In Liétor southeast of Madrid, cars and vans have been pushed everywhere by flowing water, even into rivers.”


“The phenomenon was historic, as some [Kenyan] stations recorded the highest rainfall on record, according to the end-of-season report by the meteorological department.”


“Several regions [of Kenya] will receive heavy rain above 40mm, the Meteorological Department said yesterday in an advisory. The rain was expected to start yesterday evening until tomorrow.”


“UNOCHA estimates that out of approximately 2.2 million people affected by the drought [in Afghanistan], at least 1.4 million will become acutely food insecure. They will require emergency assistance over the coming months and into the next lean season, the report said.”


61 Thai provinces on high alert for severe flooding:


“More than 40,000 properties are without power in southern WA after damaging winds and heavy rainfall battered the coast… Farmers have benefited from record rains pelting the Gascoyne, with Denham recording 98mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am, on Tuesday, breaking its previous monthly record set in June, 1965.”


“Records show that the rain-laden front dumped almost twice the whole month’s average rainfall for Pakarae [New Zealand] in less than half a day.”


“Several wildfires have forced evacuations in California, Colorado and New Mexico.”


“American Airlines flight AA1897, which departed from San Antonio [Texas] just after midnight on Sunday, was only in the air for one hour before the pilots declared an emergency. That emergency was the hail storm wreaking serious damage to the aircraft’s windshield and nose cone.”


“In the last 23 days, Washington has received 10.43 inches of rain. The rainfall output over the past three weeks ranks second most on record for the time of year. We have seen five separate storms unload at least an inch of rain.”


“This spring in Western New York has been the most topsy-turvy one on record. The snows and ice of Buffalo’s coldest April since World War II were followed by its warmest May ever recorded.”


“The brief taste of summer that visited late last week will be only a fond memory for this first full week of June, as the temperamental spring of Atlantic Canada continues.”


“Lampman experienced similar flooding in 2011 and again in 2016. “2011 we flooded. 2016 we flooded, but not to this degree. Not that much rain, that fast. 2011 was the flood year but it came over a two month period, where this came in a few hours,” said Wallin.”


“Several people used the snow on their car windshields [Mission City, Newfoundland] to write, June 4?”


Weather whiplash and the death of seasonality – Sweden has summer snow, too:


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Climate June 4 2018

“Not since December 2010 has Norway’s Meteorological Institute measured normal temperatures at its northernmost locations. It should still be freezing, below zero. Not so this May. Measurements at Longyearbyen airport on Svalbard could tell a story about global warming not seen before with a mean temperature of 1,8°C, which is 6°C above normal.

“Also the other Norwegian Arctic islands experienced a warm May, the institute reports.

“Bjørnøya in the Barents Sea was the warmest with a mean temperature of 3,7°C. That is 5,1°C above normal. Hopen was 5°C above normal, while Jan Mayen had 5,1°C warmer than normal for May.

“Ny-Ålesund, further north on Spitsbergen, had a mean temperature of 1,6°C, which is 5,6°C above normal for the month.

“On mainland Norway, temperatures in the last few days of May were warmer than most holliday resorts around the Mediterranean. Warmest was Etne outside Bergen with 32,7°C on May 30th. Mean temperature for Norway was 4,2 degrees above normal. Since mean values were registered first time in 1900, 2018 is by far the warmest ever measured the Meteorological Institute informs.”


Lots of North America had a record-breakingly hot May as well:


“A large area of high pressure over the Central states through Monday will shift eastward into the Deep South by Tuesday, allowing southerly winds to return and kick the heat into high gear.”


“Officials with the Los Padres National Forest announced this week the largest wildfire in California’s modern history is officially out, more than six months after it started.”


“Massive wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico have torched thousands of acres and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes.”


“Parts of Mexico continue to swelter in a record-breaking, prolonged heat wave that has caused at least three deaths, given a boost to the economy and even caused traffic lights to melt in two northern states.”


“Torrential rain has caused flooding in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, making some roads impassable for motorists. Thunderstorms hit Sanaa on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday afternoon, an unexpected occurrence in the city, as June is predominantly a dry month.”


“Coupled with the general effects of global warming, Pakistan is facing a certain water emergency.”


“Uttar Pradesh [India] was hit by another deadly dust storm that claimed 17 lives and left 11 persons injured last evening.”


“To date, this year’s rainfall total has been the second-lowest level recorded for Hong Kong, the Observatory said. For April and May, no water level could be recorded for Lau Shui Heung Reservoir because it had completely dried up.”


“Malcolm Turnbull, on a tour of drought-stricken areas in New South Wales and Queensland, has declared there is “no doubt that our climate is getting warmer”.”


“”The rain just wouldn’t let up, and we could hear rumbling [Tolaga Bay, NZ]. Then the wood and debris just started cracking and coming through our windows.””


Read Friday’s climate post here.

Climate 1 June 2018

UK beach

“The UK has enjoyed its sunniest and warmest May since records began, provisional figures show.”


“More storms are forecast for the UK after parts of the country were battered by torrential rain and flooding last night.”


“Thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain hit France’s northern and eastern regions overnight on Thursday, leaving mudslides and flooding in their wake.”


“More than 63,000 people in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are affected by drought, the regional civil affairs department said Friday.”


australian surfer“Most of Sydney posted its hottest autumn, beating records set just two years earlier, with more than double the normal number of days exceeding 25 degrees during the season.”


“Despite an overcast and cool ending to the month, it was the warmest May ever documented in Seattle as well as one of the driest.”


new mexico fires“The U.S. Forest Service said on Thursday it has taken the rare step of indefinitely closing off public access to a 1.6 million-acre national forest in northern New Mexico because of fire risks posed by prolonged drought in the region.”


“It’s official – 2018 is now the hottest May in Austin history!”


“North Carolina was hit hard by remnants of Alberto, which caused flooding and landslides across the western part of the state.” Some astonishing rainfall totals in NC with six months of rain in 15 days.


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Climate 31 May 2018

“Temperatures in Europe’s far north are breaking records, prompting Scandinavians to take dips in fjords well ahead of the official start of summer next month.

“In the municipality of Etne, on Norway’s west coast, the mercury hit 32.7 C (90.8 F) on Wednesday, a record for May.

“In Denmark, May has already broken records for sunshine, with 348 hours recorded by Wednesday — expected to reach 360 on Thursday. The previous high was 347…

“In Poland and northern Germany, an unusually hot May has been reported with farmers complaining of damage caused by dry weather to crops such as rapeseed oil.”


scottish shellfish…the crunch of crab shells and waft of mussels being cooked in wine and garlic butter is under threat around Scotland’s coast after two separate periods of severe weather left shellfish in short supply.”


“A toxic cocktail of hail, torrential rain and 48 hours of thunder and lightning could cause a ‘danger to life’ in Britain from fast flowing or deep floodwater, forecasters warned today.”


“Champagne has become the latest French wine growing region to feel the wrath of the heavens after freakishly violent hail storms wiped out the equivalent of eight million bottles of grapes and roughly €125 million (£110m) of fizz.”


“Germany has been slammed in recent days by thunderstorms that have caused travel disruptions and flash flooding, and more powerful storms are on the way.”


“Worsening drought is depleting traditional grazing areas, forcing pastoralists from Mauritania — a country already nearly three-quarters desert or semi-desert — to travel ever longer distances into neighbouring Mali and Senegal in search of fodder and water. This is causing conflict with farmers along the way.”


“These are the shocking results of the massive cyclone which hit the Arabian Peninsula this week, dumping three years’ worth of rainfall in a city in Oman and flooding the desert.”


deer in iran

“Wildlife habitats in Iran are clearly under threat, especially in the central regions, as they suffer from worst drought spells in decades.”


“There seems to be no immediate respite from the prevailing heat wave conditions for the residents of western Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.”


“At 46 degrees Celsius, Karachi on Wednesday suffered the hottest day in May since 1981, when the mercury had soared to as high a temperature.”


“Hundreds of families [Nepal] have been left without roofs over their heads, Thakulla said, adding that the municipality will convene an emergency meeting to provide relief to the families affected by the storm.”


“At least five people were killed and 1,400 houses destroyed as a strong cyclonic storm swept across Myanmar over the last two days.”


“The “Very Hot Weather Warning” issued by the Hong Kong Observatory has been in force for 13 consecutive days as of Wednesday, refreshing the “longest-lasting warning” record in the history of this warning.”


“Middlemarch [NZ] only reached a maximum temperature of 0.2°C, setting a new May record for coldest max temperature (the old record was 2.0°C, set in 2006).”


“With less than two days left in the month, statistics suggest May 2018 is on pace to be the driest on record.”


Seattle is having its warmest May on record.


“The severe weather risk continues across the eastern Prairies after reports of significant hail in Saskatchewan Wednesday. Meanwhile, SNOWFALL warnings were issued for parts of Alberta on Wednesday, which is contributing to the rising Bow River west of Calgary.”


hot usa

“Rather than a nice prolonged spring—which is objectively the best season—the U.S. has jumped right into summer. From coast-to-coast, May has been extremely hot. With what National Weather Service program manager Victor Murphy dubbed “blast furnace temps” across the Lower 48, it’ll likely go down as the hottest May on record for the country.”


“The early start to hurricane season continues with what could be the first landfalling tropical cyclone to make it to Lake Michigan on record.”


“Across the country, recent reports have found that methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure are under-reported.”


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Climate 30 May 2018

“There seems to be no respite for Indians from deadly weather conditions.

“On May 29, up to 40 people were reportedly killed as thunderstorms and heavy winds struck parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, and Jharkhand, causing trees to fall and houses to collapse. This takes the total death toll from extreme weather events to over 200 this month, with UP being the worst-hit…

“Meteorologists have largely attributed the spate of bad weather to a western disturbance (a low-pressure system) and cyclonic circulations over the Indian subcontinent. However, rising temperatures, too, have intensified the storms. Many Indian states have experienced heatwave conditions for weeks, with temperatures reaching up to 46.7 degrees Celsius.”

“There seems to be no respite for Indians from deadly weather conditions.

“On May 29, up to 40 people were reportedly killed as thunderstorms and heavy winds struck parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, and Jharkhand, causing trees to fall and houses to collapse. This takes the total death toll from extreme weather events to over 200 this month, with UP being the worst-hit…

“Meteorologists have largely attributed the spate of bad weather to a western disturbance (a low-pressure system) and cyclonic circulations over the Indian subcontinent. However, rising temperatures, too, have intensified the storms. Many Indian states have experienced heatwave conditions for weeks, with temperatures reaching up to 46.7 degrees Celsius.”

“Shattering the heat record of the past 28 years, Bhopal recorded a maximum temperature of 45.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.”


“Record rainfall in the range of 340 mm received in parts of Mangaluru and Udupi district, normal rainfall in the month of May for Mangaluru is 168.6 mm.”


“It was also the second-hottest day ever in May since [Hong Kong] city records began 133 years ago.”


“Sydney is still on track to record its hottest autumn ever.”


“Hundreds of wild animals fleeing severe drought have invaded remote Australian towns to hunt for food and water, prompting warnings that they may attack residents.”


“Less than two weeks after a black bear was spotted and tagged in Prescott, the same bear traveled more than 40 miles to the Phoenix area, even stopping at a country club in Anthem. Dr. Grey Stafford, a wildlife expert, says this is an alarming consequence of the drought.”


hot in houston“To say that it is hot in Houston — or anywhere in Texas for that matter — would be a serious understatement of fact.”


“Record high temperatures engulfed the Great Lakes region over the last four days. It’s amazing how the world’s largest freshwater system warmed up in just the past few days. The image on the left shows water temperatures just six days ago. All of the Great Lakes have seen dramatic warming in the past few days.”


“After receiving nearly 10 inches of rainfall Monday evening, parts of northwest Kansas experienced heavy flooding that damaged roads and caused a highway closure.”


“With relentless rain in the forecast all week — and the record for May rainfall already in tatters — some parts of Western North Carolina are bracing for flooding. With two days remaining in May, the Asheville area has already set a record for rainfall in the month, with 11.49 inches recorded at Asheville Regional Airport as of Monday. That eclipses the previous record of 9.18 inches set in May 2009.”


lake tahoma dam failing“”Floodwaters [North Carolina] have reached levels not seen since the September 2004 floods associated with Hurricanes Frances and Ivan,” the National Weather Service said.”


“Flooding in central Cuba caused by torrential rainfall in the wake of the subtropical storm Alberto has killed four people and prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands, Cuban state-run media said late on Tuesday.”


“Thunderstorms and flash-flooding have brought parts of south-east England to a standstill as the region received a month’s worth of rain in a few hours.”


“Much of France is enduring some pretty extreme weather right now. Violent storms have lashed the country for days and set to continue.”


“Record-high temperatures are creating a summer-like atmosphere in Germany and Poland weeks ahead of the official start of summer… Polish state television said it’s the hottest May on record in 129 years, with April the third-warmest on record.”


“Heavy rainfall has resulted in severe flooding and has led to roofs on buildings collapsing, cars being damaged and roads being ruined in the German city of Wuppertal. According to a speaker of the German Weather Service, over a short period of time, more than 40 liters of rain per square meter fell on Wuppertal.”


“Junsele in northern Sweden and Landsort in the Nynäshamn archipelago both had their hottest May temperatures since records began (Junsele 28.5C, May 15th; Landsort 23.2C, May 16th), and Halmstad and Uppsala broke more than 100-year-old records (29.2C and 29.3C) on May 16th.”


Read yesterday’s climate post here.