Global Warming

Study: Global warming alters timing of floods in Europe

Global warming is altering the timing of floods in Europe, making some rivers swell early and others later than usual, a phenomenon that impacts farming and daily life across the region, researchers said Thursday.

The report in the US journal Science is the largest European study of its kind, and spans 50 years and a vast trove of data from over 4,000 hydrometric stations from 38 countries.

“In the north-east of Europe, Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States, floods now tend to occur one month earlier than in the 1960s and 1970s,” said lead author Guenter Bloeschl, a professor at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien).

“At that time, they typically occurred in April, today in March. This is because the snow melts earlier in the year than before, as a result of a warming climate.”

Winter floods along the Atlantic coast of western Europe tend to occur earlier, almost in the autumn, because maximum soil moisture levels are now reached earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, floods in parts of northern Britain, western Ireland, coastal Scandinavia and northern Germany now tend to occur about two weeks later than they did two decades ago.

Storms hit later in the winter than before, a trend that is likely “associated with a modified air pressure gradient between the equator and the pole, which may also reflect climate warming,” said the report.

And as the Mediterranean coast warms, coastal flood events in some regions occur later in the season.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Storm Franklin is located about 55 mi…90 km NNW of Chetumal Mexico and about 135 mi…220 km ESE of Campeche Mexico with maximum sustained winds…50 mph…85 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 14 mph…22 km/h.

In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 07w (Noru), located approximately 150 nm north-northwest of Yokota Ab, Japan, is tracking northeastward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Vietnam, Update – Floods and landslides in northern Vietnam have now killed at least 26 people and washed away hundreds of homes over the past week. Fifteen people are missing. The scale of the destruction means rescue efforts are proving difficult. Flooding has crippled four provinces, damaging water systems and farms, where rice and fruit are grown.

Europe – After the heatwave in parts of Europe came the storms, and casualties. Four people were reported dead in northern Italy over the weekend as the weather turned violent. First a mudslide near the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo swept a woman to her death on Saturday. On Sunday three men were killed, two of them when strong winds brought down trees, the other by lightning. Clean-up operations have been underway in Austria after heavy rain. The Grossarital Valley in the state of Salzburg was once again reported to be accessible after being cut off. Styria and Tyrol were also badly affected. Far to the east – in Russia’s far east – heavy rain brought chaos. A local state of emergency was declared as the town of Ussuriysk and six villages became flooded. Some people were given temporary accommodation after being moved from their homes. But despite some stormy weather, across much of southern, central and eastern Europe the heatwave is expected to continue.

San Antonio, Texas, USA – San Antonio saw heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms throughout the city on Monday morning. The San Antonio Fire Department reported at least five structural fires caused by lightning strikes on Monday. Officials have reported low level flooding in various areas throughout the city.

Disease

Anthrax – Zambia – Update

In a follow-up to previous reports on an anthrax outbreak in Western Province, Zambia, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation report today that the human case total has risen to 67 since the outbreak began in Nov. 2016. In addition, it is reported that two people have died from the lethal bacterial disease.

Bird Flu – Europe – Update

Further reports of H5N8 avian flu outbreaks have been sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) from a number of European countries in the past week.

France detailed six new cases in wild birds in the past week, but also 34 separate outbreaks in poultry. Many of the poultry farm outbreaks were found through clinical symptoms, but others were detected as part of France’s prevention measures, which involves pre-emptive culling of birds in some regions. Overall, over 52000 birds were destroyed on farms and over 2000 died.

In Germany, five new outbreaks were announced affecting farms of turkeys, ducks or mixed poultry in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia. A zoo in Saxony-Anhalt and a backyard holding in Bavaria were also affected. Over 68,000 birds were destroyed and 673 were killed in these outbreaks. Neighbouring Netherlands found large numbers of wild ducks with the disease in Utrecht.

Poland found two new outbreaks on farms and two in backyard holdings, in several different regions. Over 4000 birds died as a result of these outbreaks. In Ukraine, a farm in the Odessa region and a backyard holding in Chernovtsy suffered outbreaks, with over 10,000 birds killed.

Croatia reported new outbreaks of avian flu on a farm in Zagrebacka, where 40 birds died, as well as in a number of wild birds in other areas. Nearby Serbia reported one dead wild buzzard, while the Czech Republic reported several mute swans and one backyard holding in Jihočeský as affected by the disease. Slovakia found two new outbreaks in backyard holdings in Presov and Trnava as well as some affected wild birds. In Romania, several swans were found with the disease, and one backyard farm of 46 birds was also affected.

One new outbreak was reported last week by Greece, where avian flu hit caged layers in Peloponnisos region, with 28,000 birds destroyed.

Three farms were affected by avian flu in south-western parts of Russia, where 2530 birds died and over 219,000 were culled to prevent the disease from spreading. Two affected swans were also reported by Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 01w (One), located approximately 162 nm east-southeast of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, is tracking west-northwestward at 04 knots.

Newsbytes:

Peru – Freezing temperatures in Ayacucho, located in south-central Peru, has resulted in the death of at least 180,000 alpaca. A cold weather front has also been accompanied by wide flooding. The animals have died of starvation as the grasslands where they normally graze have been frozen over. One of the affected communities is Wayraccasa in the district of Vinchos, province of Huamanga, located 14,763 feet above sea level, where in recent months dozens of alpacas died due to the cold. According to local media reports, a drought since August of last year hampered the breeding of the alpaca, due to a lack of water in the lagoons, with dry grass weakening the animals who can’t withstand the freezing cold and rain. Meanwhile, in the city of Huanuco in central Peru, residents in the Santa Rosa neighbourhood, were seen evacuating flooded homes, as a result of heavy rains, which began three days ago and caused rivers Yacusisa and Aucayacu to overflow, in the Tingo Maria district.

Europe – From the rivers criss-crossing eastern Europe to the Mediterranean ports of Greece and France, everyone is hunting for energy supplies. Blizzards, gale force winds, arctic temperatures and river ice thicker than a house has left the stewards of the European energy business frenzied. Prices of natural gas, primarily a heating fuel, has soared to the highest in more than two years. Blackouts across Eastern Europe caused electricity rates to spike to record levels. January will be one of Europe’s coldest months of the past five years and the chill will linger for at least another two weeks.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical Depression 01w (One), located approximately 439 nm east of Puerto Princesa, Philippines, is tracking west-northwestward at 08 knots.

Newsbytes:

Europe – At least 20 people died in the past two days as a cold spell spread across Europe, authorities said on Saturday, with the frigid temperatures expected to continue through the weekend. Russia meanwhile celebrated the coldest Orthodox Christmas in 120 years and Istanbul was covered with a blanket of snow. Ten of the latest victims of the cold perished in Poland where sub-freezing conditions remain with minus 14°C on Saturday. The winter snow storms also reached Turkey, paralysing its biggest city Istanbul where hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday. Traffic through the Bosphorus strait was also disrupted. Greece likewise has seen fierce cold weather this past week. In the north near the Turkish frontier a 20-year-old Afghan migrant died of the cold on Tuesday.

South Africa – Gauteng – Widespread flooding occurred throughout the north of the province after more than 120mm fell within three hours. Numerous roads and low-lying bridges were flooded or washed away, walls were knocked down by the floodwaters and farm dams overflowed as 1:100 year floodlines were breached in many places.

Global Warming

Gulf Stream slowdown to moderate warming in Europe

New research confirms the likelihood of a Gulf Stream slowdown in the North Atlantic. Scientists suggest the phenomenon will spare Europe from the worst of global warming.

Thermohaline Circulation is a massive ocean current system that carries warm water from the tropics north toward Europe. As water evaporates in the North Atlantic its salinity and density increase, and it sinks, cools and is carried south again.

The global conveyor belt includes wind-driven warm water surface currents like the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift — currents that moderate temperatures along the East Coast of the United States and Europe’s west coast.

Scientists have long predicted the Thermohaline Circulation would slow as global warming encouraged precipitation and polar melting, flooding the world’s oceans with cold freshwater.

Some researchers have speculated that a slowdown could precipitate an ice age in Europe.

New modeling by a team of researchers from the University of Sussex, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the University of California, Berkeley, show that’s not the case.

The slowdown won’t reverse global warming and plunge Europe into another ice age. Instead, it is expected to slow the rate of warming in the region. While the rest of the world warms more quickly, Europe will warm at a moderated pace.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Invest 92 is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 91E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Newsbytes:

Europe – France is braced for more torrential rain after a week of storms killed nine people across northern Europe, submerged streets, closed schools and left people stranded on rooftops. Eight people have died in Germany and six days of heavy rain in France caused the Seine and other rivers to burst their banks, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in riverside towns south of Paris and in the Loire valley. In southern Germany, dangerously swollen rivers have killed several people and severely damaged Bavarian towns. Waters have receded in Austria, where schools and roads were flooded in recent days.

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Global Warming

Europe’s shift to dark green forests stokes global warming: study

An expansion of Europe’s forests toward dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures.

Forest changes have nudged Europe’s summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree (0.2 F) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colours trap the sun’s heat, the scientists said.

Lighter-Coloured broad-leafed trees, such as oak or birch, reflect more sunlight back into space but have lost ground to fast-growing conifers, used for everything from building materials to pulp.

Overall, the area of Europe’s forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750. Conifer forests expanded by 633,000 sq. km, while broad-leaved forests shrank by 436,000 sq. km. Over the period, Europeans have harvested ever more wood from the forests, reducing their role in storing carbon.

Drought

Europe Suffered Summer Drought and Heat

A European Commission report shows that a wide swath of the continent has just endured an exceptionally dry and hot summer.

It documents how nuclear and fossil fuel power plants that rely on rivers for cooling were forced to reduce power or even shut down.

Rainfall up to 60 percent below normal halted some river traffic, killed crops and sparked more frequent wildfires.

But the news wasn’t entirely bad for solar power production, wine producers and tourism that involved outdoor activities, the report says.

Areas experiencing the heat and lack of rainfall include France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain.

Environment

Heat Wave in Europe

A heat wave has soared across Europe. The heat wave set a record in Germany as 104.54 Fahrenheit was measured in Kitzingen, northern Bavaria, on Sunday afternoon. It is the highest level in Germany since measurements began in 1881.

The heatwave caused the deaths of five elderly people, two cyclists and three beachgoers, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Fundi), forms near the southern tip of Madagascar, is located approximately 330 nm southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and is tracking southeastward at 05 knots.

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Balkans, Europe – Snowfall and heavy rain are hammering Europe and bringing deadly floods to the Balkans. Hundreds of families have been evacuated from their homes in Albania and one woman drowned after being swept away by floodwaters. Snow continues to blanket parts of Italy and Spain, where hundreds of motorists were trapped on roadways.

Malawi Update – Unicef says that more than 300,000 people have been displaced by the flooding in Malawi, almost twice as many as previously estimated.

Wildlife

Carnivore Comeback: Bears and Wolves Are Thriving in Europe

Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves as the U.S.

A new study finds that Europe’s other large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in their numbers, too — and mostly in non-protected areas where the animals coexist alongside humans. The success is owed to cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and a public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness.

With the exception of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, every European country in the study has a permanent and reproducing population of at least one of the four large carnivores, the researchers reported. The continent is home to 17,000 brown bears in 10 populations spread over 22 countries. There are 9,000 lynx in 11 populations in 23 countries. Wolves are thriving, with more than 12,000 individuals found in 10 populations in 28 countries.

Wolverines can live only in the cold climates of Scandinavia, so Norway, Sweden and Finland are the only countries in the study that host all four of Europe’s major large carnivore species. There are two populations of wolverines in Europe, with an estimated total of 1,250 individuals.

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Disease

Plague – Madagascar

On 4 November 2014, WHO was notified by the Ministry of Health of Madagascar of an outbreak of plague. The first case, a male from Soamahatamana village in the district of Tsiroanomandidy, was identified on 31 August. The patient died on 3 September.

As of 16 November, a total of 119 cases of plague have been confirmed, including 40 deaths. Only 2% of reported cases are of the pneumonic form.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 12 and 16 October 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) notified WHO of 5 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 2 deaths.

First European outbreak of avian influenza H5N8 confirmed in poultry

Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have recently identified outbreaks of avian influenza. The first was reported on 5 November 2014 on a turkey farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The virus was identified as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8. This is the first detection of this strain of avian influenza, also called bird flu, in Europe, although outbreaks continue in wild birds and poultry in Asia (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea). How the virus reached Europe is unknown, but testing in Germany revealed that the virus is similar to the one currently circulating in Asia.

The Netherlands outbreak was on a chicken farm in Hekendorp, north-east of Rotterdam; the virus was confirmed as H5N8 on 15 November 2014. A subsequent outbreak on a duck-breeding farm in East Yorkshire, United Kingdom was confirmed as H5N8 on 18 November. Since then two more outbreaks have been detected in the Netherlands. These are also caused by H5 viruses, but exact virological details will not be known until testing has been concluded.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific Ocean:

Tropical depression 02w (Kajiki), located approximately 393 nm west-southwest of Manila, Philippines, is tracking westward at 30 knots. The final warning has been issued for this system.

Floods and snowstorms hit Europe

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the Italian city of Pisa as the Arno River threatens to burst its banks. Italian police footage, filmed from a helicopter, showed fields flooded and houses isolated by muddy water.

Meanwhile in northern Serbia, strong winds forming snowdrifts have blocked roads and disrupted energy supplies. Soldiers and special police were deployed Friday to help evacuate dozens of people stranded in cars and buses on the blocked roads.

 

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NewsBytes:

Floods return as heavy rain and high wind hits Scotland.

Storms and Floods

Hurricane “Xaver”

Xaver brought a fierce and stormy night to many parts of Germany. The North Sea continued to batter against dikes in the early hours of Friday, with storm winds snapping trees and damaging buildings in the country’s north.

In the port city of Hamburg, the flood reached a level of 6.09 meters above sea level by 6:30 a.m., however, despite danger warnings being issued ahead of the surge, the water level has already begun to recede. The storm has caused only a few accidents involving injuries in Germany.

The German transport ministry said until Sunday people should limit travel by road and rail to journeys which are “absolutely necessary” as train services were also restricted. In preparation for the storm In Hamburg schools and Christmas markets were closed and ferries to Germany’s North Sea islands were kept in port. Warnings were also made in adjoining states of Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen.

After causing huge damage in western Europe, hurricane Xaver hit Poland in the early hours of Friday morning with winds of around 100 km per hour and gusts of 130 km per hour claiming the lives of at least five people in Poland and leaving an estimated 400,000 people without electricity.

NewsBytes

Small tornado hit New Plymouth, New Zealand causing some damage to properties.