Global Warming

Climate Change to Affect the Gulf Making Life “Impossible”

It has been suggested that the environment in and around the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea will soon “exceed a threshold for human adaptability.”

Life in the Arab Gulf region, Yemen, parts of Iraq and great swaths of Iran, in other words, will no longer be possible. This ominous scenario, posited in one of 6,000 papers referenced in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warrants only a single line and is easily missed.

The Middle East is already more vulnerable to climate change than most regions because of limited water supplies and long summers that are already very hot. Rising temperatures will only reduce the availability of water, stoking tensions already straining relations between neighboring states.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which once watered the flowering of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia, rise in the Armenian Highlands. Facing the rising threat of desertification, Turkey is increasingly diverting water from these rivers for its own agricultural needs and depriving its southern neighbor, Iraq, of supplies. Downstream in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, lack of fresh water has already led to a public health crisis and violent protests this year, raising the specter of a future blighted by water wars.

The body adapts to increases in environmental temperature through perspiration and subsequent evaporative cooling. As anyone who has waited in vain for a taxi in Abu Dhabi knows, extreme heat plus the proximity of a large body of water – such as the Gulf – equals high humidity, which prevents the body from regulating its internal temperature through evaporation. This is “wet bulb temperature,” or “TW” – a combination of temperature and humidity, or “mugginess.”

In the current summer climate experienced around the Gulf, when the actual temperature is at about 40 degrees, the wet bulb temperature is between 28 and an extremely uncomfortable 30 degrees. It has rarely exceeded 31

In the current summer climate experienced around the Gulf, when the actual temperature is at about 40 degrees, the wet bulb temperature is between 28 and an extremely uncomfortable 30 degrees. It has rarely exceeded 31.

The MIT scientists estimate that the maximum wet bulb temperature, or TWmax, at which even the fittest human being could not survive outdoors for more than six hours before suffering hyperthermia, or fatal overheating, is 35 degrees. If climate change is not checked, say the researchers, between 2071 and 2100 most of the territory bordering the Gulf, Red Sea and Arabian Sea will experience wet-bulb temperatures permanently between 31 and 35 degrees.

By the end of the century, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Dhahran and Bandar Abbas will regularly exceed 35 degrees, at which point life in the region will, to all practical intents and purposes, be over.

Yes, air-conditioning – if it can still be afforded and, indeed, be politically justified in the face of impending global climate-change catastrophe – might be able to cope indoors and in cars. But no one would be able to work or even survive outside, which would mean an end to construction and the vital businesses of tourism, ports and airports, while the rate of deaths from heat-related illnesses among the young and the elderly would become intolerable.

Climate change is altering the Bavarian Alps

It’s unseasonably warm on Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. Thirty years ago, September would have brought freezing temperatures and the first snow flurries. Today, tourists explore the bare, snowless, moon-like rockscape in T-shirts and shorts.

The glaciers have all but disappeared too. The Northern Schneeferner has shrunk to a mere 25 percent of its 1950 volume. On the Southern Schneeferner, it’s even worse as only 6 percent is left.

As temperatures increase, the permafrost — a layer of sediment, rock or soil that remains frozen for more than two consecutive years and that stabilizes the mountain rock — is retreating too. That and increased rainfall, have caused the rocks to lose their stability, leading to more than a thousand rockfalls in the Alps in the past year.

A number of Alpine huts have already begun to subside as the ground beneath them shifts, he said. Anchors for cable cars and other infrastructure will also need to be stabilized. Some traditional climbing routes have been closed for safety reasons too.

Global Warming

Spring foliage appearing early in the Alps

Because of global warming, trees in the Alps are coming into leaf earlier than they used to – which could have negative consequences for forest ecosystems.

In the early 1960s, spring came to the mountains about five weeks after arriving in the lowlands – as observed by the appearance of leaves on the trees. Today, that delay is only about three weeks, says the Swiss Federal Research Station for Forest, Snow and Landscape in a report published on Monday.

Researchers came to this conclusion after assessing more than 20,000 observations recorded by volunteers and collected over the past six decades by MeteoSwiss, the Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology. The data set pertains to beech, spruce, larch and walnut trees.

Premature leaf and needle development is even more pronounced at higher altitudes, meaning that those trees sprout foliage much faster after a warm winter.

The researchers explain the phenomenon in part by how long the trees are exposed to temperatures of 0-8°C (32-46°F) at the end of winter. The trees need this frost-free cold phase so that the buds can awake from their hibernation and develop normally in spring.

According to the study, this in turn has consequences for the structure and functioning of forest ecosystems, especially the interactions between plants and animals.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.9 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.8 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.7 Earthquake hits central Peru.

Two 5.2 Earthquakes hit the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

Earthquake Swarm hits the French Alps

The French Alps have been rocked by 140 mini-quakes in just 40 days – sparking fears a huge earthquake could strike at any time. There are also fears the tremors could lead to a deadly avalanche hitting dozens of popular ski resorts in the Alps mountain. The strongest tremor registered was 3.8 on the Richter scale. Residents in the region have describe how they have been getting used to being shaken awake at night in recent weeks.

Global Warming

Artifacts Exposed as Ice Fields Retreat

In the past century, the glaciers and ice fields of the European Alps have lost half their volume to global warming, and their continued retreat, like that of glaciers everywhere in the world, is accelerating. By 2100, many scientists predict, they will have all but disappeared. The meltdown has already disrupted the region’s sensitive mountain ecosystems and tourist resorts—some local communities have taken to laying protective white blankets over the snow and ice—but it has also opened up new avenues of scientific inquiry. As the glaciers recede, they are releasing some of the human artifacts that they have absorbed through the ages, including humans themselves. Ötzi, the five-thousand-year-old mummified mountaineer discovered in 1991, remains the most astonishing find. But hundreds of other archeological objects, preserved in remarkable delicacy, have also turned up—medieval crossbow bolts, coins of Roman vintage, a pair of twenty-six-hundred-year-old socks. In July, an employee of a Swiss ski company came across the mummified remains of a couple who had gone missing in 1942; they were found fully dressed, with their wartime identity cards, backpacks, an empty bottle, a pocket watch, and a book.

Burdick An Ancient Lunch Box Emerges from the Ice

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Utor is located approximately 236 nm south-southeastward of Hong Kong. Utor is expected to move inland near Zhanjiang, China. Intensification is expected as upper-level diffluence remains favourable. Additionally, the chance remains for the system to intensify more than currently forecast pending interaction with an upper-level low analyzed over southern China.

Sinkhole Opens Under Florida Resort

A resort complex in Florida has partially fallen into a sinkhole, the latest such incident in the state.

All 105 people staying at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, near Disney World, were safely evacuated when the ground gave way on Sunday night.

By Monday morning, nearly a third of the complex had collapsed into a sinkhole up to 100ft (30m) in diameter.

Much of Florida straddles a system of limestone caverns that are subject to water erosion, causing them to cave in.

In March, a sinkhole beneath a house in the suburbs of Tampa, swallowed a man who was in his bed. His body was never recovered.

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Landslides in Nepal

Landslides at different places in Khimti VDC of Ramechhap district in Nepal have claimed the lives of at least seven people.

Landslides around 2 am Tuesday morning at Khimti-4 and Khimti-3 claimed four lives including three of a single family.

Another three died in another landslide and flooding in Katunje village. Two others are reported to be missing.

Altogether six people have gone missing.

Another Landslide in Rukum district in Nepal has buried at least five houses and displaced around 49 families.

NewsBytes

Two separate avalanches on Mont Blanc have claimed the lives of four climbers and left one missing. Another avalanche in the French Alps claimed the lives of two French alpinists.

Flooding in Kano, Nigeria has destroyed about 408 homes and closed several roads leading in and out of the district.

Flooding has killed 36 people in a region north of Sudan’s capital Khartoum and 5 000 houses were destroyed due to heavy rain and floods.

Storms and Floods

Violent Storm Kills Six In Argentina

Six people were killed after torrential rain and powerful winds battered Buenos Aires, knocking out power, downing trees and damaging homes. More than 155 mm (six inches) of rain fell between midnight on Monday and 7am on Tuesday. That is a record for rainfall in April in the Argentine capital.

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Mudslide in Arusha, Tanzania

A mudslide in Arusha, Tanzania has claimed 13 lives. Four people are still missing. The mudslide occurred at a gravel mine in the Moshono area of northern Tanzania.

Storm and Tornado in Torda, Serbia

A storm which spawned a tornado in Torda, Serbia has damaged more than 100 buildings. The tornado damage is estimated in the millions of dollars.

Avalanche in Italian Alps

An avalanche in the the Ortles region of the Italian alps has claimed the lives of three skiers.

Other News:

Landslide in Papua New Guinea kills mother and five-month-old baby. The mother was found holding tightly onto five-month-old baby under the rubble of their house.

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Hail storms in Hitchcock, Texas, USA damage seven police cars.

Storms and Floods

Avalanches in the Alps

At least seven people have died in avalanches in the French and Austrian Alps.

Avalanche in the southern French Alps: Four climbers died in Hautes Alpes region. The area is close to Italy.

Avalanche in Tyrol Austria: Three skiers killed including a German skier near the Hoher Riffler peak in Tyrol.

Massive Winter Storm Pounds The Northern United States

The storm has grounded 2600 flights, closed hundreds of schools and made roadways and highways impassible. At least four people were killed on Tuesday in accidents on icy and snow covered roads and highways. More than a dozen states from Minnesota to Virginia were in the path of the huge storm, which had already dumped as much as 60cm of snow in Montana and 38cm in North Dakota.

Another 1162 flights scheduled for Wednesday had already been cancelled, mainly in the Washington area. The storm was expected to hit the nation’s capital late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and some Congressional meetings were already being called off.

Floods swamp thousands of homes in Jakarta

More heavy rains have fallen in Jakarta causing floods upstream of Bogor Dam, swamping areas of the capital that had only just recovered from January’s major flood. Nearly 6,000 homes have been affected this time, with water up to 2.5 metres deep in places.

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