20th March 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Once again, heavy rain has brought flooding to Iraq. In the northern city of Mosul, during the most recent late winter, or early spring, thundery rain dropped 127mm (5 inches) of rain onto the streets.

“This is twice the average rainfall for March in Mosul and equivalent to about one-third of the year’s expected rainfall. The result was thigh-deep flooding and boat rescue.”


“Cold, unstable air moving in with the storm will allow snow to fall across parts of Turkey, as well as showers and thunderstorms from southern Turkey and northern Iraq to northern Saudi Arabia and Jordan,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.”


In July 2010, a catastrophic flood forced Ion and his neighbours to flee their houses in Cotul Morii [Moldova], taking only the essentials.

“The water completely submerged the village, a rural community established 200 years ago on the banks of the River Prut.”


As climate change makes winemaking a torrid business in southern Europe, viniculture is taking off in Scandinavia

““We have an extra month of summer now. And winters are not like what they used to be. That’s why we can make wine, and why 50 years ago, we couldn’t.””


A pregnant cow who swam four miles to shore after being swept away by Hurricane Dorian in September has given birth to a “miracle” calf.

“A photo of the “sea calf” was posted on Monday on Facebook by Ranch Solutions, a group hired to return the pregnant cow home to North Carolina’s Cedar Island, 350 miles east of Charlotte.”


Twenty-three states from the Northern Plains to the Gulf Coast are forecast to have moderate to major flooding from March through May, with the greatest flood potential in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.”


A severe storm system is battering the country, bringing blizzard conditions, tornadoes and thunderstorms, disrupting the lives of more than 10 million Americans.

“On Wednesday night, several tornadoes hit towns in Texas, flipping cars and damaging homes.”


The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that although recent rains have provided some relief for Southern California, Northern California remains locked in moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions.”


Glaciers of the Southern Alps of New Zealand have been losing ice volume since 1978, with an increasing rate in the last decade

“The NIWA glacier monitoring program noted that 30 percent of New Zealand’s ice that was existed in the late 1970’s has been lost in the past 40 years as snowlines have been rising.”


A previously unknown significant source of carbon just discovered in the Arctic has scientists marveling at a once overlooked contributor to local coastal ecosystems—and concerned about what it may mean in an era of climate change.”


Catastrophic crop failures caused by extreme weather in just one country could disrupt global food supplies and drive price spikes in an interconnected world, exposing how climate change threatens global stability, researchers said on Friday.”


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19th March 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Another strangely quiet day on the climate news front. Suspect events are being under-reported rather than not occuring.

Locusts in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been breeding at an unprecedented rate. This represents “an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods at the beginning of the upcoming cropping season,” according to Locust Watch, a monitoring division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which provides emergency assistance to countries facing desert locust invasions.”


Spain has recorded its warmest winter this century so far with the temperature recorded 1.8 celcius above the average for this season.

“This is based on the average temperature recorded from 1981 to 2010 by the Agencia Estatal de Meteorologia (Aemet).”


“A strong wind warning is issued when the land wind speed is expected to reach 21 meters per second on a sustained level or gusts top 26 meters per second.

It is the first time Seoul came under a high wind warning since the weather agency began to keep relevant records in 1999, it said.”


Australia is facing a rice shortage as panic buying, which has been blasted by the Morrison government as un-Australian, leaves shelves bare and sparks calls for rationing.

“Pasta supplies are also running low and farmers who grow durum wheat say most of what they have left is needed to plant a winter crop.”


…the scientists identified species-specific physiological responses to the heightened temperatures; these responses were influenced by the intensity and duration of the heatwave.

“These changes likely signal long-term consequences for the fitness of fishes—and the health of marine ecosystems—as extreme heat events increase in frequency.”


Hilo – the largest city on the big island of Hawaii – has seen almost 18 inches of rain so far this month

“The heaviest of the rainfall, though, has been on the island of Kauai, the furthest west of Hawaii’s main islands. Lihue saw almost four inches of rain on Tuesday alone, about as much as the city typically receives over the full month of March.”


After an absence of major storms for much of the winter, the ‘March Miracle,’ in terms of wet weather, seems likely to continue next week in California

“…a new series of storms is destined to impact much of the West next week with more rain and mountain snow from Monday to Wednesday.”


Last year’s summer was so warm that it helped trigger the loss of 600bn tons of ice from Greenland – enough to raise global sea levels by 2.2mm in just two months, new research has found.

“The analysis of satellite data has revealed the astounding loss of ice in just a few months of abnormally high temperatures around the northern pole. Last year was the hottest on record for the Arctic…”


“An estimated 1,400 gigatons of carbon is currently embedded in the world’s permafrost, mostly in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. By comparison, the atmosphere presently contains just 850 gigatons.

Should a major proportion of existing permafrost thaw, the Earth could experience dramatic and very dangerous warming.”


Consider the current global landscape. One million species are now at risk of extinction, the disastrous effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, mass movements of people are becoming more common, and the world’s democracies are in the grips of partisan polarization and skepticism toward science and expertise.”


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18th March 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Another eerily quiet day on the climate front:

In Abisko [northern Sweden], locals are seeing changes that they say are not visible to people farther south, such as treelines, which used to be much lower – each year, with temperatures rising, the line of trees moves up the mountain…

“For Tomas Kuhmunen, a Sami – an indigenous community that lives mostly in northern Sweden, Norway and Finland – things are getting harder every year for those who still live traditionally, herding reindeer.

“Warmer weather means more rain, which turns to ice, locking lichen into ground and leaving reindeer to starve. Kuhmunen says some families this year have corralled their reindeer and are feeding them by hand, even though they say It’s not good for the animals.

“For him, the future is uncertain. “When we ask our elders, [what] do you do when the winters are like this? [What] did you do? And our elders [say], we don’t know.””


The winter of 2019-2020 was fundamentally different from anything experienced in the northern hemisphere over a century ago. With its record warmth and heavy rain, this winter was fundamentally different to those of only a decade ago.

“These are winters that we need to become familiar with and one that is already changing British wildlife.”


Analysis of 40 years of Dublin’s temperature records shows extreme temperature events have increased by up to 20 per cent in just eight years.

“The findings have implications for public health, and indicate how climate change will impact on the capital in coming years.”


Egypt suffered losses of over EGP 1 billion due to a wave of bad weather last week, which killed at least 20 people nationwide, a statement by the presidency read. The cabinet said in a Friday statement that Egypt had not seen such conditions for 35 to 40 years.

Rainfall in the area was five times greater than the normal range, he added.”


According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Myanmar has had the highest weather-related losses in the past two decades, alongside Puerto Rico and Haiti.

“It is said that Myanmar is also one of the most vulnerable countries at risk of climate crisis.”


The National Weather Service issued two rare tornado warnings for western Hawaii on Tuesday morning, the first tornado warnings for the state in over a decade.”


By early Tuesday afternoon, the storm, which consisted of almost uninterrupted heavy rain for more than 36 hours on the North Shore, had left Hanalei and the rest of the west end of the island cut off by flooding that closed Kuhio Highway.”


Despite the critical role that the Amazon rainforest plays in storing carbon, governments in the area continue to approve road building projects…

“…oftentimes without ever assessing the ecological impact of such projects or whether they will even be economically viable.”


As winter ends and spring begins, a coast-to-coast storm with blizzard conditions, strong winds and heavy rains will barrel across the US Wednesday through Friday.

“The vast storm will “impact almost every state in the lower 48,” says CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.”


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17th March 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

This is the quietest news day for climate change/extreme weather that I can ever recall and it is apparently part of a trend, as I have noticed fewer stories for a while now. Seems like the fall out from the coronavirus is soaking up all our media bandwidth.

“The years 2017 and 2018 set records for minimum sea ice extent in Antarctica… Antarctic sea ice loss combines with Arctic sea ice loss to create unusual wind patterns in the Pacific Ocean that will suppress the upward movement of deep cold ocean water. This will trigger surface ocean warming, especially in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

“Warming there is a well-known hallmark of the El Niño climate pattern that often brings intense rains to North and South America and droughts to Australia and other western Pacific countries. As that surface ocean water warms, it will also create more precipitation.”


She describes the flood as a sea swallowing everything [Egypt]. “Houses are damaged, our families are dead, and we can’t find the bodies of others until now.

“We only escaped with our children. And when we reached the mountain, we stayed in the rain until 10 o’clock at night.””


Drought conditions in Thailand stoked concerns of a supply shortage and lifted rice export prices to a more than 6-1/2 year high this week

““Many rice mills are refusing to sell due to uncertainty over supply during this dry season,” a Bangkok-based rice trader said, echoing the concerns of others.”


“In 1896 Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius explored whether Earth’s temperatures were influenced by the presence of heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere. He calculated that if carbon dioxide concentrations doubled, global temperatures would rise 5℃ – even more at the poles.

Just over a century later, the world is on track to fulfilling Arrhenius’ prediction.”


“Dirty air is known to cause lung and heart damage and is responsible for at least 8m early deaths a year.

This underlying health damage means respiratory infections, such as coronavirus, may well have a more serious impact on city dwellers and those exposed to toxic fumes, than on others.”


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16th March 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

As a result of the unusually warm weather this winter, seasonal rhythms have been thrown off kilter. As CBS News reported earlier this week, in places from Moscow to the U.S. bears have been seen coming out of hibernation early. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo says its native black bears emerged in early March — almost a month earlier than usual.

“In much of the eastern United States, spring “leaf out” — the season’s first blossoming of several plant species — has sprung more than 20 days early. In parts of the Southeast, this year’s spring bloom is the earliest in the 39-year record, according to the National Phenology Network, an organization that studies the impact of climate on nature’s cycles.”


Scots could be basking in the warmest Easter for 136 years — as experts predict a three-month heatwave…

“…bookies Cor­al slashed odds on the hottest spring since reco­rds began in 1884 to 5/4…

“Long-range forecasts show 21°C (70°F) is likely in Scotland over the Easter period.”


Last year was one of the worst in recent times for both flooding and drought in England, a study has found….

“Having both very wet and very dry weather is unusual but is likely to become more common… People may begin to experience both water shortages and flooding, putting infrastructure under unprecedented strain.”


“Clusters of white tarpaulin tents dot the green forest slopes of Zimbabwe’s northeastern town of Chimanimani, home to hundreds of people who have been displaced since Cyclone Idai struck these mountainous highlands on March 15 and 16 last year.”


The cold front dubbed “the dragon” that impacted the Kingdom of Jordan on Thursday and continued through Saturday morning

“…caused infrastructure damage, house flooding, rerouting of flights and suspension of classes and exams at schools and universities.”


While the entire Iran is struggling to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus, five southern provinces have braced themselves for another uninvited guest – the swarms of locusts some of which consists of two billion hungry insects.”


Heavy rain and hailstorm pummelled Delhi on Saturday, creating a new record of precipitation in March….

“The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for Delhi, has recorded 101.9 mm of rainfall in March so far, the highest ever in Delhi.”


Floods submerged 316 homes located in two villages in Mount Ijen area, Bondowoso District, East Java Province [Indonesia], on Saturday, according to the Bondowoso Disaster Mitigation Office…

“The current floods were worse than the floods that had hit the area on January 29, 2020, he noted.”


The devastating impact of Australia’s drought has been revealed in a striking collection of aerial photographs

“Despite the recent deluge causing dam levels to rise by 40%, the pictures are a stark reminder that more needs to be done to bring the country’s land back to its once-flourishing landscape.”


Figures produced by the BOM showed sea surface temperatures in the marine park in February were hotter than in any month since 1900 — and hotter even than during the record bleaching events of 2016 and 2017.”


Cherry blossoms began blooming in the Tokyo area on March 14, the earliest date since record-keeping began in 1953

““The flowers began opening up earlier than usual because of not only the record warm winter between December and February, but also because of the higher-than-normal temperatures in March,” said an official with the JMA’s Tokyo Regional Headquarters.”


The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory for the island of Maui until 7:30 p.m. HST. Forecasters with the NWS say radar at 4:32 p.m. showed heavy showers with rain rates up to 3 inches per hour over portions of windward west and east Maui and upcountry. Additional, heavy showers are expected during the afternoon.”


About 150 people have been killed or are missing following record-breaking heavy rains, landslides and flooding in three Brazilian states this year.

“Scientists say global heating is contributing to more “extreme rainfall” events in the country, and warned that such disasters could become “the new normal”.”


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

An unusually powerful storm has slammed into the Middle East, unleashing torrential rain, destructive winds and towering walls of dust.

“This storm is occurring at the same time as Egypt, Israel and other nations in the region are confronted by the growing threat from the coronavirus crisis.”


Cyclone Idai – and then Cyclone Kenneth, which hit just six weeks later – destroyed 700,000 hectares of maize, beans, rice and other produce. In February more floods hit Sofala, the central province worst affected by Idai, swamping more fields.

“The International Organization for Migration said in December nearly 100,000 people were still displaced in Mozambique.”


“…as the area experiences increasingly intense droughts and flash flooding linked to climate change…

“…the Tonga and others living near the Zambezi River, along the border with Zambia, are looking to the lessons of the past and switching back to homes on stilts.”


Four children and a woman were killed and several people suffered injuries in rain-related incidents in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Pakistan] on Thursday with heavy downpour and snowfall damaging crops in southern districts.

“The officials say the death toll from the ongoing rains in the province has reached 46.”


More than 300,000 hectares of honey-producing habitat was burned in Gippsland in south-east Victoria during the summer bushfires, while more than 5 million hectares of forest – most of which was potential honey habitat – was destroyed in NSW.

“The latter’s South Coast forests are especially productive for beekeepers.”


Researchers found that between 1900 and 2009, 56 percent of glacier area in the Cascade Range [NW USA] disappeared. In a 60-year period, spring snowpack in the state has been reduced by 30 percent.”


Huge hailstones were falling from the sky on Thursday, March 12 across parts of Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and some adjacent locations.

“Hail up to two inches in diameter (the width of hen eggs!) fell in parts of southern Illinois.”


On Thursday, March 12 a powerful storm tore through Latvia leaving two people dead due to high winds, according to Latvian news agency LETA…

“Rescuers were mainly involved in clearing fallen trees, but…

“…buildings were also damaged in Rīga and Liepāja.”


The four seasons in Germany have been shifting over the last decades due to climate change, resulting in shorter winters and earlier summers, phenological data of plant growth analysed by the German Meteorological Service (DWD) has shown…

“Germany has seen weather patterns in recent years that widely deviated from the 1961-1990 international reference period.”


“There are more than 100 small fires on average in the region each year. What made the one in 2015 so destructive was a record-breaking heatwave, explains Marcelino Núñez of the Spanish Meteorological Agency…

“It was the longest ever recorded in Spain, lasting 26 days compared to the average, of one week.”


The month of February in Portugal was characterised as “extremely hot and dry”, and was the warmest since 1931, with an average air temperature of 12.43º Celsius.”


Researcher from Rutgers University in New Jersey found that four times as many people could end up being impacted by heat stress than are today [by 2100].

“Heat stress harms human and animal health, agriculture, the economy and the environment.”


Climate variability and extreme weather events are proving to be a major cause of concern leading to displacement of people and a recent rise in global hunger

“…due to loss or damage to food crops and livestock, according to World Meteorological Organization.”


The year 2020 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal and transformational in recent history, not just because of the devastating impact of coronavirus but because of the momentous changes related to climate change and the environment.”


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