GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE & WARMING
The season’s first storm dumped more than a foot
of heavy snow across the Midwest overnight. Chicago received at least 10
to 15 inches. Reuters,
California experienced a series of emergencies unsurpassed in frequency,
severity, complexity and variety. Earthquakes,
fires, severe winter weather, floods and civil unrest.
Disaster costs exceeded $50
billion. In 1997, the January
floods required the largest evacuation in the state’s history. PR
Nine people were killed and five injured when a
wall of snow collapsed on a small town in Northern Quebec.
At least four tornadoes
hit the Florida panhandle, damaging 20 homes, tearing down power lines
and causing traffic pileups that injured 7 people.
More than 1500 people have been evacuated from
their homes in Malaysia to escape the
flooding caused by a heavy monsoon.
flooded northern Israel after months of drought, destroying property and
forcing thousands to evacuate. AP,
Environmentalists oppose legislation that would
give credit to companies who voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Daimler-Chrysler unveiled the first fuel-cell
vehicle, which runs on methanol, not gasoline.
a 24-hour period, 18.6 inches of snow fell in Chicago, the most to hit the
area in over 100 years of record keeping.
Temperatures dropped as low as 15 degrees below zero.
set the record for the lowest recorded temperature as it hit 36
degrees below zero. Tribune,
300 of the Chicago
Transit agency’s 1100 trains were knocked out by the weekend blizzard;
either buried by snow or mechanically damaged.
Recovery efforts and clean up from the
devastating blizzard hits the commuters the hardest.
Floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains in Indonesia killed seven people and swamped
thousands of hectares of rice paddies.
NASA measurements show that 1998 was the warmest year in 138 years of record keeping. Researchers
noted that a warming trend since the mid-1970 exceeds that of any previous period
since about a century ago. AP,
swept across northern Spain with winds up to 62mph.
The winds and driving rains left thousands of people without electricity and
caused extensive damage throughout the area. AP,
to 1.5 million people in Kenya are facing starvation as a result of the
that has plagued that area. Xinhua, 1/12/99.
series of storms in Vietnam killed 397 people in 1998. Reuters, 1/12/99.
world’s average temperature jumped last year to 0.34 degrees Fahrenheit to
make 1998 the hottest year on record. AP, 1/12/99.
disasters killed 5,511 people and affected over 350 million others in China
in 1998, the majority hit by floods during the summer.
breaking cold in Maine keeps residents indoors with a temperature of minus
48. Buffalo, NY has
already received 53 inches of snow this month. MSNBC,
worst disaster in 1998 was Hurricane Mitch which is said to have claimed the
lives of 18,000 people in Central America as the torrential rains
caused mudslides that swept away entire villages.
The US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
reported that in 35 days over August
and September of 1998, about 35 tropical storms formed – that’s a
year’s worth of activity in just over a month.
warming is happening and its impact will be diverse.
The Alaskan climate is changing the local landscape and there are
fears that European ski resorts will lose their snow because the next
century is expected to be hotter. BBC,
A series of tornadoes
raced through western Tennessee destroying homes, killing 8 people and
injuring 11 others. AP,
Thousands of people fighting hunger in Somalia have fled their homes in search of food.
The drought was caused by
El Nino floods in 1998, which ruined the harvest.
Water shortages have led to outbreaks of infectious diseases.
As many as 300,000 Somalis have died in this famine.
flooding caused problems in northern England, the capital enjoyed
record-breaking temperatures of 15.7C. BBC,
and funnel clouds sweep across Arkansas, killing four people and
collapsing buildings. AP, 1/22/99.
tornadoes hit the south for the second time in less than a week,
killing 8 people in 2 states and leaving thousands of people without power.
The oil giant BP Amoco will soon start selling a
low sulfur gasoline in 40 cities within 2 years as part of an effort to cut
vehicle pollution. AP, 1/26/99.
Japan Storage Battery Co expects to start
production of a commercial lithium-ion battery for hybrid cars in the second
half of 2000. Nikkei
in Arctic parts of Sweden plunged to near record lows, forcing schools to
close. The mercury dropped to
minus 49 degrees, coming close to the record of minus 53 degrees.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has estimated
the property damage resulting from this year’s snowstorm to be at $50
million. NewsEdge, 2/1/99
For the past few days, snowstorms,
killing at least 10 people, paralyzing traffic and cutting off power
supplies to several towns and villages have ravaged Romania.
brought approximately 700 catastrophic natural disasters, which killed
50,000 people – making 1998 the most tragic year on record. LA Times, 2/7/99.
A landslide in Malaysia kills 17 people by
burying them in their homes. Reuters,
drives 5000 people from their homes. AP,
Tanzania has suffered a loss of 2
billion shillings (2.9 million in US dollars) due to the drought, which grips most of the country. The lack of seasonal rains has affected 13 out of 20 mainland
regions. Xinhua, 2/8/99.
Thousands of skiers and holiday tourists were
trapped in western Austria ski
resorts after the heaviest snowfall
on record over the weekend. Reuters, 2/9/99.
was a record setting month for tornadoes.
A record 163 tornadoes touched down in January, with over 141
affecting Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. A
total of 18 people were killed by twisters in January.
snowfall brought some parts of Europe to a standstill, causing major
avalanches that killed four people in the French Alps.
on the eastern coast of Australia claimed 7 lives, while
rescuers continued to search for more missing people.
The damage to industry, business and the infrastructure will run into
the millions, with the cost to repair road and bridges alone estimated at
$1.3 million. AP, 2/12/99.
floods in southern Thailand leave three people dead
and thousands homeless. This is
usually a dry season for Thailand. Large parts of northern Thailand are suffering from severe drought and officials fear water may have to be rationed.
snowfalls in the Ukraine have already left 44 settlements of the Carpathian
region without electricity and another 26 without communication.
All tourists have been evacuated and rescuers have been digging out houses
in villages that were buried under an avalanche.
Swiss Tourism business has lost more than 30 million francs this year due to
Melting snow has added to
the fresh rainfall that swelled waterways in southern and southwestern
Germany, flooding streets and cellars and
forcing the suspension of ship traffic on the Rhine.
have killed at least 29 people and displaced 1000 residents of small
villages in the Philippines.
The death toll later rose to 39, many of them children. Many are
still missing. Reuters,
About 15 people were killed in Peru's Amazon when they were buried alive in an avalanche of mud and
boulders. The avalanche was
triggered by a storm soaked hillside
that collapsed and tore through a village.
is losing its trees, making room
for houses, shopping malls and roads. With
the loss of each tree, Atlanta braces for more heat, more flooding, more air
pollution and higher electric bills. Trees
help remove or trap lung damaging dust, ash and pollen.
One acre of trees can produce
as much oxygen as 18 people breath annually.
who prayed for rain last year say the rain this year is the worst ever for
Hungary. The oldest villagers
remember bad floods from the 1940's, but those weren't as bad as these were.
Tanker operators, cruise ship owners and offshore
platform operations in the Mexican Gulf and Caribbean Sea face the
possibility of significant disruptions as meteorologists
predict a violent Atlantic hurricane season. AP, 3/4/99.
Residents of Sao
Paulo Brazil began clean up of the city after 5 inches of torrential
rains and flooding. Much of
the city's storm drains were clogged with mud and debris.
section of the Yellow River in China has been dry for 24 days. The dry up is a result of a reduced water flow and the
increased used of water after a long drought in other areas.
Meteorologists continue to predict a violent
hurricane season with up to 29 storms expected.
Hurricane activity is expected to continue through December.
winds and large waves hit the Pacific Northwest coast
on Wednesday cutting off power to thousands of residents and businesses.
One person was reported killed when a tree fell on the car he was
driving. More than 200,000
people are still without electricity. AP, 3/4/99.
areas of the Greenland ice sheet appear to be thinning by as much as one
meter per year.
Researchers believe the extremely fast rate could be linked to global warming.
Such rapid thinning could result in either a dramatic drop in
snowfall levels or an unusually high level of summertime melting.
Scientists have been keeping tabs on reports of glacier melting. AP,
sea temperatures have caused a tremendous amount of tropical coral to die.
The warm weather of 1998 left
many coral reefs dead or damaged. It
is estimated that 70% of the corals died across a wide region of the Indian
Ocean, from the coast of Kenya to Southern India.
Washington Post, 3/6/99.
The air that people breathe in Seattle may contain
chemicals from a factory in China. In
a study of airborne chemicals from Asia reaching the U.S., researchers
measured carbon monoxide, radon, aerosols, hydrocarbons and other chemicals
in air arriving at Cheeka peak Observatory in Washington State.
While studying dust crossing the Pacific Ocean, one researcher noted
that there was a dust plume
stretching across Asia to North America.
1.4 million Vietnamese in 15 Central Provinces of Vietnam are going hungry
due to the floods and drought over the past few months.
Five floods hit the area in the November-December period, killing more than
300 people and causing millions in damage. As many as 840,000 are destitute.
farmers in Bolivia are facing losses of $40 million as a result of the
Drought is causing serious problems in Guangzhou, China and other regions of China's wheat basket.
The drought has lasted for over 7 months, withering crops and
causing difficulties in spring planting and in getting drinking water.
emergency was declared for two-thirds of the State of Texas amid concerns
that the unusually dry winter may give way to a summertime drought.
In 1998, the dry weather caused many fires and destroyed more than
1/4 of the cotton crops.
was the warmest year on record in 120 years.
Scientists have also dubbed the 1990's as the warmest decade of the
millennium. The American Geophysical Union has called for continued efforts to curb
human-made carbon emissions to stop global warming. Reuters,
Floods have left 6000
people homeless and 23 dead in central
is severely affecting grain crops and livestock and forcing the sale of
livestock at low prices. Reuters,
Damage caused by El Nino storms and Hurricane Mitch cost El Salvador's coffee growers $160 million over
the last two seasons. AP,
The State Insurance Commissioner estimated damage
from fierce wind storms in Washington to be at $30 million and $20 million
for damage in Oregon. PR Newswire,
Vance is a maximum category five tropical storm and more powerful than
previous cyclones to hit Australia. Cyclone
Vance is expected to cross Western Australia, cities are prepared to go on
"red alert," as sea levels could rise up to 6 meters above normal,
high tides could cause severe flooding.
It is estimated that 2.3 million Vietnamese are
suffering from serious hunger. The
drought has hit 34 of Vietnam's 61 provinces and has continued for 18
months. Rain is not expected
anytime soon. AP,
Some of the statistics for the worst
catastrophes in 1998, in terms of fatalities are as follows:
Hurricane Mitch - 9,000 people died in Honduras & Nicaragua;
Earthquake in Afghanistan killed 4,000; flooding in China killed 3,656;
Monsoon rains in India, Nepal and Bangladesh killed 3,000; tropical cyclone
in India killed 1,150; heatwave in India killed 1,000; Hurricane Georges
killed 600 in U.S. & Dominican Republic
· China is suffering its worst drought in over 10 years. The drought has affected 19 million people, leaving them a shortage of drinking water; 21.48 million acres of farmland dry and destroyed half of the winter wheat crops. AP, 3/31/99.