As weather extremes multiply, Colombian Prez pleas, “The tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history”
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has released its monthly global temperature data. It reveals that there is no April in the temperature record before 2005 that was warmer than April 2011.
And that’s in spite of the fact that we are still in the tail end of a major La Ni±a and just coming out of “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.” April 2011 is surpassed in warmth only by 2005, 2007, and 2010. It tied with 2002 and just beat 1998.
The Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology foresees a transition to an El Ni±o this summer. NOAA only foresees “ENSO-neutral conditions.” NASA’s Hansen had predicted back in October that “It is likely that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature.” An El Ni±o would make that an extreme likelihood.
We have, as reported, seen almost unbelievable extreme weather in this country (see Hell and High Water: Weather Channel labels Texas drought and Mississippi floods truly “exceptional”; Masters: This is “only” a “1-in-100 to 1-in-300 year flood).”
We have also been seeing record-smashing extreme weather around the globe, from England to Canada, from Colombia to China — but the U.S. media is so focused on the Mississippi that these events have received little attention here.
April was the hottest in the Central England Temperature record going back some 350 years:
The flood is being called a 300-year flood, and damages are already in excess of $1 billion. In neighboring Alberta, the reverse extreme is causing havoc: severe drought and strong spring winds have made ideal conditions for wildfires,
“Some parts of the country have been set back 15 to 20 years”, said Plan’s Country Director in Colombia, Gabriela Bucher. “Over the past 10 months we have registered five or six times more rainfall than usual,” said the director of Colombia’s weather service, Ricardo Lozano. Up to 800 mm (about 32 inches) of rain has fallen along the Pacific coast of Colombia over the past two weeks (Figure 3). The severe spring flooding follows on the heels of the heaviest fall rains in Colombia’s History. Weather records go back 42 year in Colombia. Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos said, “the tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history.”
… See also my December 2010 post, Heaviest rains in Colombia’s history trigger deadly landslide.
China has been hit by a devastating drought. The NYT reports today that:
A severe drought along the Yangtze River region in central China has rendered nearly 1,400 reservoirs in Hubei Province temporary unusable, devastated farm fields and made drinking water scarce, according to a report on Monday by Xinhua, the state news agency. The drought, which has lasted for five months, has brought water levels in the middle part of the Yangtze down to a near-record low.
AFP published this picture with the caption, “Chinese fishing boats are seen stranded a dried up river bank along the Yangtze river. Drought on the massive waterway has led to historically low water levels that have forced authorities to halt shipping, the government and media said Thursday”:
In his October analysis, Hansen warned, “Given the association of extreme weather and climate events with rising global temperature, the expectation of new record high temperatures in 2012 also suggests that the frequency and magnitude of extreme events could reach a high level in 2012. Extreme events include not only high temperatures, but also indirect effects of a warming atmosphere including the impact of higher temperature on extreme rainfall and droughts.”
I’ve often said of our current extreme weather, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Unfortunately, we may not have to wait that long to see the weather of the last year topped.
- NASA’s James Hansen: “One sure bet is that this decade will be the warmest” on record
- 2010 Study: Global warming is driving increased frequency of extreme wet or dry summer weather in southeast, so droughts and deluges are likely to get worse
- Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding that harm humans and the environment
- NOAA: Monster crop-destroying Russian heat wave to be once-in-a-decade event by 2060s (or sooner)
- NCAR’s Trenberth on the link between global warming and extreme deluges: “There is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”