15th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

“It was a remarkably cold winter across the High Arctic, at least compared with the abnormally mild winters in many recent years. But the weather pattern has reversed this spring and unusually warm air is surging toward the North Pole, paving the way for the Arctic ice melt season to commence.

“The sudden pulse of warmth is one of many observed in the Arctic in recent years, which research shows are increasing in frequency due to rapid climate change, accelerating the loss of sea and land ice.

“Above freezing temperatures are showing up in the Central Arctic about one month earlier than average this week, according to Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at CIRES…”


The seasonal ice melting in the Yakutia and Krasnoyarsk regions of Russia caused a rise of water level in Siberian rivers, triggering floods in towns and villages.

“Ice jams on the Lena river led to the water rising two metres higher than the critical level.”


Scientists warned on Thursday that a catastrophic tsunami is most likely to happen because of climate change increasing the risk of a massive landslide in an Alaskan fjord.

“A glacier that supports a steep, mile-long slope along one flank in Prince William Sound is slowly retreating due to warmer temperatures.”


A wildfire in Southwest Florida continued to grow in size Thursday evening, forcing hundreds of residents from their homes along a stretch of Interstate 75.

“A 20-mile stretch of the interstate, also known as Alligator Alley, that had been closed overnight was reopened about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.”


Fires are raging in the coastal state of Guerrero in south-central Mexico and smoke from the fires drifts over most of the state.

“On May 12, 2020, the Comisión Nacional Forestal of Mexico reported 15 active forest fires throughout the state. The fires have been difficult to control because of strong winds.”


June 1 is the official start to Atlantic hurricane season, but a weather system forming now may make this the sixth straight year with a tropical system forming before that date.

“”This system is likely to become a tropical or subtropical storm by late Friday or Saturday when it is located near the northwestern Bahamas,” the National Hurricane Center said.”


Europe is set for a sweltering and tinder dry summer this year, posing trouble for farmers, utilities and transportation on inland waterways.

“That’s the conclusion of scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service, who published the seasonal outlook this week.”


“As temperatures are expected to hit and even exceed 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country this weekend…

“…a National Observatory of Athens (NOA) scientist said Greece may be in for the hottest May heatwave in at least 50 years.”


Temperatures in many [of Turkey’s] provinces and locales in the interior and western region may approach or even top record levels

“Adil Tek, head of an Istanbul-based earthquake institute, said this year the average temperature in Istanbul from January to May 13 broke a 109-year temperature record, and an early summer can be expected.”


Israel is on high alert as wildfires are expected across the country due to abnormally high temperatures, Israel Fire and Rescue Services (IFRS) Commissioner Dedi Simchi said Friday morning.

“According to Simchi, starting this weekend, a heatwave is expected to hit the country, with extremely high temperatures and low humidity.”


24 people have been killed and more than 283,000 others have been displaced by floods in Somalia, according to figures released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia.

“The figures also indicated that 28 districts and more than 701,000 people in the Horn of Africa nation have been affected by the floods.”


A shocking video has shown the streets of Delhi covered in white hailstones, with some Indians saying it is a sign of the end of the world.

“In the clip, ice covers the roads and has settled despite sweltering 45C (113F) temperatures forecast for this coming weekend.”


“The Mekong animates a vast swathe of Asia, from the snow-packed mountains of south-western China from which it springs, to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in the lower portion of the basin. As it meanders along its 4,500km route, it feeds and waters some 66m people. Yet the river is ailing.

Last year the water in the Mekong fell to its lowest level since records began…”


Almost one million Rohingya people in the world’s largest refugee camp are facing the added threat of a cyclone as the first cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, Oxfam warned today.

“The cyclone, which is likely to form off the coast over the weekend, could bring further suffering and destruction to the camps on top of a potentially devastating health crisis.”


A tropical downpour caused flash floods on roads in Pattaya, eastern Thailand, today (May 14). Motorists and pedestrians had to battle through the deluge which left some parts submerged in knee-deep water…

“Tropical storms have been sweeping Thailand for the last few weeks as the country enters its scorching summer season with temperatures reaching 42C.”


“Heavy rainfall throughout the week has caused floods and landslides in several provinces, as the rainy season is expected to be last longer than initially forecasted.

A downpour lasting from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning led to floods in Lebak regency [Indonesia]…”


Northern Samar, Bicol region [Philippines takes direct hit from Typhoon Vongfong

“Typhoon, equivalent to Hurricane Category 4, brings gusts of up to 212 km/h… Power outages reported in provinces that saw its wrath, while country deals with effects of coronavirus pandemic…”


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14th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Heavy rain caused terrifying flash floods and landslides in Indonesia today (May 13). The downpours struck the Paya Tumpi area of Aceh Province dragging trees down from mountains and even washing away cars.

“Panic-stricken locals fled when the torrent carrying rocks and mud began surging through their village. While others screamed as they watched the devastation being unleashed.”


Typhoon Vongfong is raking the central Philippines Thursday and is expected to unleash flooding rainfall, landslides and damaging winds as it tracks through the northern Philippines through Saturday.

“Vongfong, which is locally known as “Ambo” in the Philippines, made landfall just after midday Thursday, local time…”


Hawke’s Bay farmers [NZ] are in “uncharted territory” as drought conditions in the region worsen.

“The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on Thursday said it had “grave concerns” for farmers, particularly in the central part of the region, as dry conditions continue to be unrelenting.”


In the past, indigenous communities would patrol their lands every week or fortnight to find criminals looking to loot the forest

“Since April, though, these patrol have largely stopped. The risk of coronavirus is too high, posing a new threat to both the Amazon and its protectors.”


“…the artificial passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic [the Panama Canal], opened in 1914, has suffered one of its worst natural crises since last year and has nothing to do with the efforts involved in keeping it running in times of coronavirus…

“…it is running out of water.”


A mother of five got pelted by hail in a thunderstorm last week and suffered several injuries [Missouri, US]

““If the hail was any bigger, coming down any harder, I’m almost positive we would have died,” Langston said, “we held each other behind a few trees, it was very scary.”


Well, it’s official. Boston broke a record low this morning set back in 1882, when the mercury dropped to 37 degrees.

“Temperatures have already begun to recover, but it’s still chilly in central and western Massachusetts.”


Parts of the UK saw some of their lowest May temperatures on record overnight, according to the Met Office.

“Katesbridge and Castlederg in Northern Ireland plunged to -6.1C and -3.9C respectively overnight thanks to a combination of clear skies and Arctic air coming in from the north.”


Radiation from atomic bomb tests during the Cold War era caused changes in the atmosphere that led to increased rainfall in Scotland in the 1960s, scientists have found.

“Even though the detonations carried out in the 1950s and 1960s occurred in remote areas, the scientists said these tests resulted in changes to rainfall patterns in certain parts of the UK…”


Israel is heading into a heat wave, with temperatures expected to rise to more than 43°C (109°F) in some regions of the country over the weekend, the Israel Meteorological Service has forecast…

“The high temperatures are expected to persist into next week, with Bet She’an potentially reaching up to 46°C (114.8°F) and Tiberias 45°C (113°F) by Tuesday.”


East Africa has suffered devastating floods after heavy rain in recent weeks, with Kenya particularly badly affected

“The water levels in Lake Victoria have risen sufficiently over the past week to impact settlements along its banks.”


The population of Russian doves is declining fast as its illegal hunting goes on unchecked in different parts of Hazara division, a source told Dawn here on Wednesday.

The brown-dark brown-white dove is a migratory bird that travels from Siberia and Russia to parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan [Pakistan every year…”


Residents of Chita, a Russian city in Siberia north of Mongolia, experienced a frightening storm on Wednesday as powerful winds blew roofs off buildings, picked up metal garages and scattered them throughout neighbourhood yards…

“…a video shows a garage being picked up and thrown several meters as a frightened resident runs for cover.”


Consider extreme weather, ranked the No. 1 global risk in terms of likelihood.

“While the chance of catastrophic floods, heat waves, storms or wildfires is unaffected by the pandemic, vulnerability to these events has increased massively. Governments, companies and households are stretched to a breaking point: They are all less able to cope and less able to recover.”


April 2020 was the planet’s second warmest April since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday.

“April 2020 came in just 0.07°C below the record set in April 2016, according to NOAA, but was the warmest April on record, 0.04°C above 2016, according to NASA.”


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13th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Locals in Dudinka are preparing for this year’s spectacular show on the Yenisey. Every spring, the great Siberian river breaks up and pushes vast masses of ice down the flow towards the Arctic coast of the Kara Sea.

“This year, the sight can be viewed earlier than anyone can remember. The record-early break-up comes after an extraordinary warm winter and spring.”


It may read May on the calendar, but winter-like conditions have returned with a vengeance. Frigid conditions across the region [Canada] set a new record for May 12.”


Two sisters aged 7 and 3 died in flash flooding that sent torrents of water roaring into a narrow canyon in the Utah desert, authorities said Tuesday.

“At least 21 others escaped the flooding Monday afternoon in Little Wildhorse Canyon, where the curving sandstone walls are so narrow at points that hikers must turn sideways to walk through.”


The Missouri River has been slowly running dry since the 1950s, and could be on the verge of triggering a new era of drought across the midwest

“…the drying trend began in the 1950s and reached its worst point in the decade between 2000 and 2010, when the Missouri River ran lower than at any point in the last 1,200 years.”


The San Joaquin Valley — with all its agriculture and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it — is one of the places most at risk because of changing snowmelt patterns, a new study shows

“A new study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that about 50 percent of current runoff comes directly from Sierra snowmelt, and the Valley stands to lose between 13 percent and 50 percent of snowmelt runoff as the climate warms.”


The long-term effects of climate change suggests that the butterfly effect is at work on butterflies in the alpine regions of North America, according to a new study — and the predictions don’t bode well.”


Recorded temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are increasing at an “alarming” rate, according to one scientist, and forcing fisherman to confront a seafood industry primed for disruption.

“Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts recorded 2017 as the warmest year on record for water temperatures in the Northeast. Glen Gawarkiewicz, a senior scientist at the institution, said 2019 was equally “disturbing…””


At least five experienced surfers have drowned after going out in stormy weather off the coast of The Hague, Dutch authorities have said.

“The group of men, aged between 22 and 38, were among 10 surfers and swimmers who took to the water in Scheveningen on Monday evening in heavy weather that generated a thick layer of sea foam and hampered rescue efforts.”


Record temperatures for May [Cyprus] are expected over the weekend and on Monday, with the weather gradually getting hotter over the coming days

“…weather portal Kitas has forecast temperatures climbing to 42C on Saturday and Sunday and 43C on Monday, after which it will cool down slightly.”


Kenya May 13 – 237 people have lost their lives due to floods as rains cause havoc across the country, according to official statistics.

“The worst affected areas are around Lake Victoria, Lake Naivasha, Tana River, Nzoia River and parts of Central Kenya along tributaries that flow into Tana River from The Aberdares.”


This is the worst “upsurge”—the category of intensity below “plague”—of desert locusts experienced in Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and in Kenya for 70 years.

“The region’s growing season is underway, and as the swarms have grown while the coronavirus complicates mitigation efforts…”


“This summer has not been so cruel for Chennaites with temperature remaining below normal and not breaching 37 degrees Celsius even once.

“But all this could change later this week with a monstrous cyclone brewing in the Bay of Bengal, which is likely to trigger a heatwave in Tamil Nadu.”


Thailand’s sugar mills are warning that another drought could significantly cut into output for the 2020-21 crop year.

“Siriwut Siempakdi, president of the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation (TSMC) public relations working group, said the industry must brace for the next drought.”


Moths the size of small bats have been swarming a major Australian city after heavy rains.

“Droves of trictena atripalpis, also known as rain moths, have appeared in Adelaide following a series of downpours.”


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12th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

The world’s largest ecosystems may alter drastically faster than previously thought, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications, shedding new light on the behavior of climate tipping points.

“Real-life cases reveal a pattern: bigger ecosystems collapse at a faster rate than smaller ones. According to the findings, climate tipping points could happen in a matter of years…”


Communities across Southeast Alaska saw record-breaking high temperatures over the weekend

“The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Sunday warning of continued fire danger for the entire region due to warm temperatures and low humidity.”


The amount of precipitation that fell in Winnipeg between Jan. 1 and May 7 is the third lowest ever recorded in that time period, according to meteorologist Jay Anderson.

““The lowest amount was two years ago and the second-lowest amount was four years ago,” Anderson said. “In the last five years, we’ve had the three driest springs ever in Winnipeg history.””


Saturday morning’s chilly temperatures weren’t just uncomfortable, they were TERRIBLE for Michigan’s fruit crop.

“Apples alone are a nearly billion-dollar industry… Other orchards lost more than 50% of their crop.”


Just weeks after an April frost devastated central Virginia wineries, and during a time when their tasting room doors have been closed due to the coronavirus, record-low temperatures this weekend dealt another blow to those vineyards.

“Some report the loss of entire blocks of grapes.”


Record cold to summer heat in less that a week

“The seasonal temperature flip-flop continues for the eastern US as temperatures from the South to the Mid-Atlantic will warm to feel more like summer with high’s 10°-15° above average.” [Video]


Officials continue to battle Florida wildfires amid record heat, dry conditions

“The fires, which have damaged properties and prompted area evacuations and road closures, are being attributed to abnormal heat and dry weather in the state, with the Florida Panhandle among those hardest-hit.”


There were reports of roads bring washed out across the department of Landes [France] from flooded streams

“In Cannes, about 100 mm (4 inches) of rain fell over the weekend which is nearly double the city’s normal May rainfall.”


West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes managed to survive a German winter

“Europe is usually too cold for tropical diseases to persist for long, but climate change helped it overwinter. The infection was detected in wild and aviary birds such as owls and blackbirds, in addition to horses.”


The problem is that the edge of the glacier marks the boundary between Italy and Switzerland — when the building opened in 1984 it was clearly in Italy, but since then the glacier has melted rapidly, especially during the record heatwave in Europe in 2003 and several hot summers afterwards.”


Switzerland couldn’t get enough snow for a time recently

“…the Swiss side of the Alps had the driest December since record-keeping began over 150 years ago.”


Collision of weather systems brings fears of frost to Poland

“Apple trees should survive but doubts remain over soft fruit… IEG Vu sources have expressed concern over extreme temperature fluctuations…”


Temperatures [in Turkey] over the weekend will be above seasonal averages across most of the country due to the hot weather coming in from North Africa, weather experts warned Monday…

“Last year, Turkey and Europe sweltered under record temperatures. Several provinces across the country saw thermometers exceed 40 degrees C.”


The UNHCR has warned that conflict and serious flooding have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes amid risks of COVID-19 in Somalia.

“Heavy flooding, conflict, a crippled economy, impending desert locust swarms and the exponential spread of COVID-19 are threatening the safety and welfare of Somalia’s 2.6 million internally displaced people.”


Flood waters continued to inundate villages and farmland one week after water breached the wall of a reservoir in Uzbekistan.

“The western wall of a dam around the Sardoba Reservoir broke on May 1, 2020, following a week of heavy rain in the region.”


More than 3,000 firefighters and other personnel were battling a fire that started Saturday in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, local authorities said Tuesday.

“The fire broke out at around 3:33 p.m. Saturday in the city of Anning. On early Tuesday morning, the fire spread to the neighboring Lufeng County under Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture.”


Social distancing may save human lives, but it’s wreaking havoc on some of the world’s most threatened species.

“In Botswana, which depends heavily on tourism, poachers have taken advantage of suddenly empty wildlife reserves to kill at least six endangered rhinos during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In South Africa’s North West province, at least nine more were killed as sightseers stayed home. Fears are rising that tigers, elephants and countless lesser-known species might soon face similar threats.”


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11th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

“The popular saying “April showers bring May flowers” might not be the case this year.

The northeastern United States experienced an unusual Mother’s Day weekend as most restaurants remained closed amid coronavirus concerns and a historic polar vortex packing snow shattered temperature records.”


There are more than a dozen wildfires raging across Florida, burning property and prompting evacuations, as excessive heat and dry weather take its toll on the state.

“Florida is known for its hot weather, but this year has been exceptionally torrid. In April, South Florida hit June-like temperatures.”


The state [Alaska] saw several record or near record high temperatures on Saturday and will likely see more on Sunday.

“The Juneau Airport reached 76 degrees on Saturday. This is not only the first 70 degree or higher temperature for the year, it also breaks the previous May 9 record of 73 degrees set in 2014.”


A high of 86 was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. The previous record there for May 9 was 83 degrees, set last year.

““Most places, it was probably a record-breaking day,” Burg said of the Puget Sound region, which featured mostly sunny skies.”


As forecasters predict higher-than-normal chances of large fires in Northern California this year — as well as the usual risk of “large significant” burning in Southern California — fire authorities are growing increasingly concerned over their ability to muster a large, healthy force of firefighters in the face of COVID-19.”


“It has not had much attention, with the world focused on the coronavirus, but deforestation has surged in the Amazon rainforest this year, raising fears of a repeat of last year’s record-breaking devastation – or worse.

“Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon hit a new high in the first four months of the year…”


Photographs of Hawke’s Bay [NZ] taken from space almost a year apart show the effects of its drought

“December through February is typically the driest period in north and central New Zealand, but according to Nasa, the 2019-2020 summer season was especially dry, leaving the entirety of North Island in severe meteorological drought.”


The NSW government has pledged a $310 million emergency relief boost for drought-affected farmers and communities.

“Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said renewing support measures will give certainty to regional drought-affected communities so they can make important stock and business decisions.”


Taichung city in central Taiwan has recorded the hottest day of May since 1900 as the temperature reached 36.9 degrees Celsius at Sunday noon, the weather department said.

“The island’s weather department issued heat alerts to 11 counties and cities across the island Sunday.”


A massive dust storm was whipped up in the Delhi-NCR region on late Sunday morning as strong winds frequented the skies in the national capital.

“Bringing some relief to the citizens from the intense heat, rains soon followed…”


Fifty people lost their lives in Yemen’s temporary capital of Aden due to the chikungunya fever, according to an anonymous government official late on Saturday.

“More than 3,000 people were infected… It is believed that the disease came about because of swamps caused by a flood disaster on April 21.”


Torrential rains have triggered devastating floods and landslides across East Africa in recent weeks, aggravating an already challenging situation as countries in the region battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“The destruction caused by the heavy rainfall has killed hundreds of people in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and Ethiopia and has also forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.”


Properties have been flooded after thunderstorms hit parts of south and west Wales on Saturday

“BBC weatherman Derek Brockway said the storms marked the start of a cold front bringing “arctic winds” across Wales.”


The newsletter Melting Glaciers, which has just been published online, reveals that glaciers in Iceland have been rapidly retreating for 25 years, and that glacier downwasting is among the most obvious consequences of global warming.

“The newsletter describes an alarming trend…”


As climate change contributes to a surge in disease outbreaks across the world, scientists warn that current rates of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss will lead to more deadly pandemics like the coronavirus.

“The total number of disease outbreaks has more than tripled each decade since the 1980s.”


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8th May 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Wildfires in at least three different areas of the Florida Panhandle, including one suspected to be caused by an “illegal burning,” raged through the night Wednesday into Thursday morning, forcing the evacuation of over 1,000 homes.

“High winds and dry conditions fed the blazes that burned dozens of buildings and scorched over 2,500 acres.”


About 76% of Colorado is now abnormally dry, compared with 16% this time last year.

“That, combined with worries about the spread of COVID-19, has firefighters worried wildfire response will be tapped.”


“Most of the homes impacted by heavy rain were unprepared for the flooding because it never was an issue before with a lower water table…

“”Until Lake Michigan levels peak, Bush said, “this is kind of the new norm.””


“…heavy rain with hail that fell this afternoon-night on the Hidalgo capital [Mexico] left severe floods and damages in several parts of the Pachuca metropolitan area, so Civil Protection units deal with the incidents…

“…the water ran dragging mud, garbage and even construction material or rubble in its path.”


The province of Buenos Aires experienced the highest level of rainfall for 30 years in March and April, allowing wheat planting to potentially hit a new record pace, according to a report from the Rosario Board of Trade.”


The rolling hills on the Dasent family’s farm in rural Hawke’s Bay [NZ] are a sea of brown as far as the eye can stretch. They’ve had only 26 percent of their average rainfall for April, and the last four months have been the driest on record for the region.

“In fact, there really hasn’t been any decent rainfall since October.”


Binh Thuan Province [Vietnam] has declared a state of emergency after drought affected over 97,000 residents and depleted irrigation water

“Rainfall, which came late this year, has been low. Since the end of January, rivers and streams have dried out across Binh Thuan, home to popular beach town Mui Ne.”


Firefighters were forced to suspend their work to put out a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province due to strong winds, fire police said Friday.

“The fire broke out at 5 p.m. Thursday at the border of Xide and Mianning counties in Sichuan, according to the provincial forest fire department.”


The Russian Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters has registered 634 wildfires since the beginning of this year in the Trans-Baikal Region, the Ministry’s press service told TASS Thursday. On Thursday, EMERCOM head Yevgeny Zinichev arrived in the region and conducted a meeting on wildfires.”


“…forest loss in Africa accelerated, from 3.4 to 3.9 million hectares annually

““This is indeed very bad news” for the African continent, said Anne Branthomme, a global forestry expert at FAO.”


Flooding and landslides have killed at least 65 people and washed away nearly 100 homes in Rwanda after heavy rains overnight on Wednesday. It is the latest in a series of floods across the East African nation in recent weeks.

“Dozens of people have died since the start of March, but the most recent rains took the most lives.”


[Uganda’s] State Minister for Disaster and Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru, was on Thursday, May 7, 2020 shocked at the trail of destruction left behind by the floods that pounded Kasese District.

“Several rivers in the area such as Nyamwamba, Mubuku and Nyamughasana on Wednesday night, burst their banks, letting off huge flooding that swept away homes, gardens, schools and inundated hospitals.”


As if our world wasn’t already off-kilter: Snow and shock-the-system cold will numb the Mother’s Day weekend for many across the U.S.

“Forecasters warn of a bizarre spring pattern that is expected to sweep unseasonably raw weather east of the Rockies. The arctic plunge could shatter dozens of records and notch temperatures chillier than Christmas Day in some cities.”


Climate change is affecting every country on the globe, and the U.S. military must adapt to provide defense, officials said… Climate change is particularly fast in the colder regions of the globe, with glaciers and ice caps melting at alarming levels. That change means new operational environments.”


A world expert on diseases is warning that frozen ‘ancient microbes’ are a danger to humanity, as rising temperatures thaw the Arctic.

“Dr Dennis Carroll – who appears in the Netflix documentary Pandemic – said we should be ‘should be exceedingly cautious about underestimating the potential threats’ that reborn germs could pose.”


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