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Sri Lanka , Brazil & Australia all flooding

Climate Change or Weather Variance?

The floods in Brisbane have overshadowed the events going on in Sri Lanka and Brazil. Maybe its the western media bias but Sri Lanka has seen over one million people displaced by the flooding and 350 people in Brazil have been killed in torrential downpours. La Nina is probably the immediate cause of floods in Brisbane and wider South East Queensland. It appears the La Nina effect has mixed with the north east monsoons  and caused heavy rains in the Philippines and SE Queensland.

The million dollar question? Is this just the weather or is there something more sinister at work?

2010 was a particularly extreme year.

1) Sri Lanka saw its lowest temperature drop for 61 years.
2) Russia saw an unprecedented heatwave.
3) Record breaking snowstorms hit Europe including the UK?
4) Floods have been severe and 2011 is staring off with some severe downpours

Weather is not the same as climate as many people forget. Climate is about year on year trends. So what are those trends According to two leading US monitors of global weather - 

1 - 2010 was the hottest and wettest on record.
2 - Global temperatures increased for the 34th consecutive year!
3 - 1976 was the last year that the Earth was below its 20th Century average!
4- A staggering 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001!

It is well beyond dispute that the Earth is warming. The vast majority of climatologists believe the gases trapped in the atmosphere are heating up the atmosphere itself. Still many doubters believe that Carbon dioxide emissions aren't doing long term damage and the heating is a natural process.

The Power of La Niña

You’ve probably heard of El Nino or “Little boy” well there’s another equally damaging weather pattern called La Nina or “little girl.” The reason people have suddenly started talking about it is because it’s causing havoc on a global scale.

There’s massive flooding in Australia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and now Brazil with many hundreds dead and millions affected. Meanwhile, drought is leading to a spike in food prices in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. 

Experts say the cooling of the tropical seas in the Pacific is having a knock on effect around the world. For a good explanation have a look at this BBC video. La Nina is a regular weather pattern but it hasn't caused a major event like this since 1989. Many of you will probably want to know if this is linked to climate change, well according to Reuters’ Climate Change Correspondent David Fogarty the jury is still out: Some computer climate models tend to show a future trend toward more El Nino episodes as the world warms. Climate scientists say it will be some years before a clearer pattern is likely to emerge. By then computers will be much more powerful to run detailed, high-resolution simulations to test the impacts of warmer oceans and atmosphere over time-scales of several decades to a century.

Scientists say a warmer world will mean more extreme droughts and floods and possible sudden shifts in ocean or atmospheric patterns, with devastating impacts. Catastrophic flooding in Australia and Sri Lanka has been fed by one of the most intense La Nina weather events in decades. But La Nina, the name given to cyclical cooler-than-average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is only partly to blame for recent extreme weather worldwide, meteorologists say. Other phenomena are likely more responsible for recent warm weather in Canada's eastern Arctic and heavy snowfall on both sides of the Atlantic this winter, meteorologists say. What's behind the weather woes.

In the Southern Hemisphere, many areas are seeing their worst floods in decades. Mudslides and flooding in Brazil have killed at least 479 people this week, while floods in eastern Sri Lanka killed 27. A resident is seen after a landslide in Teresopolis, Brazil, on Friday. (Bruno Domingos/Reuters) Severe floods have also swamped much of northeastern Australia in recent weeks, killing 26 people, leaving 53 missing and affecting hundreds of thousands of people, including residents of Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane. The heavy rainfall in Australia is a direct result of La Nina's effect on Pacific trade winds, NASA reported this week.

The U.S. space agency's satellites confirmed that the current La Nina event is one of the strongest in 50 years. CBC News meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said extreme weather in any area bordering the Pacific can "definitely" be related to La Nina. "The effects of the Pacific Ocean will gradually diminish as you head out geographically from it," she added. Brazil is on the Atlantic side of South America, making a link between its disastrous floods and La Nina more difficult. The heavy rainfall in northeastern Australia that led to extreme flooding is a direct result of La Nina's effect on Pacific trade winds, NASA says. (Reuters) "Brazil is into their summer monsoon season. Is La Nina enhancing that? The records don't go back far enough for us to say," Ramsahai said.

Other areas bordering the Atlantic have seen unusual weather. Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures have hit northeastern North America, and similar conditions led to hundreds of flight disruptions in Europe before Christmas. Meanwhile, Nunavut and other areas of the eastern Arctic have seen mild weather. Lots of unknowns Ramsahai credits the North Atlantic oscillation, a pattern of weather anomalies that is in its "negative" phase right now. "How is the North Atlantic oscillation interacting with La Nina, both being very strong this year? That is very low in terms of research and the data that we have," Ramsahai said. "So it's very difficult for us to make definitive answers when our research just isn't there yet." As of early January, the areas affected by La Nina were 1.5 degrees cooler than normal, reported the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "La Nina is currently near its peak and is expected to persist into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011 at a lesser intensity," said an update from the agency in a Jan. 6 update. However, it wasn't clear whether the event would last into summer. 

 

More By  :  Arnab Sain

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  • Comments: 3


Comments on this Blog

Comment thanks all...

wlkipedia
08-May-2011 10:59 AM

Comment the informations we must know is here.

asianclimate.com
29-Mar-2011 04:41 AM

Comment good information...

wlkipedia
26-Mar-2011 10:48 AM






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