United Kingdom, January 14: There are those who say that global warming is a myth and that the change in the weather pattern is cyclic.
Whatever the science behind it, the last few weeks signpost dramatic changes and signal havoc at a level not experienced in two generations.
Floods in Australia inundate a land mass larger than France and Germany and Brisbane resembles a war zone even as Pakistan struggles with the aftermath of its own record-breaking waterlogging in 2010.
India shivers as a billion people face single-digit temperatures, in some places as much as 14 degrees C below normal, unheard of since 1940. That is abnormal.
Brazil reels under rushing waters as rivers break their banks near Rio, and Kuwait hits a new mercury low of 7 degrees C. The GCC feels an early chill. It continues to rain in places where the monsoon should have vanished weeks ago, with Sri Lanka facing massive landslides that have displaced a million people.
Europe is frosted into stillness, America braces for more Atlantic hurricanes even as the Big Apple turns into a popsicle. China is readying for the challenge of being on the cyclonic flight path and the tsunami threat.
The overall impact slams the price line of commodities, restricts travel yet, ironically, creates a huge refugee problem arising out of coastal relocation while commerce and trade are hit, and efficiency and productivity drag their feet.
Of the 950 natural disasters in 2010, 90 per cent were directly weather-related with a basic loss to the exchequers of $130 billion and counting. The year 2011 is not expected to do better and over one billion people will be affected by the weather. Climate scientists say a warmer world will trigger greater extremes of droughts, bush fires, floods and storms, placing crops, mining operations and place coastal cities at greater risk.
The hard fact. The weather has become unpredictable and Met science is losing the battle in giving any warning.
Brazil flood death toll rises to 482, more feared
Rescue workers dug for survivors on Thursday and struggled to reach areas cut off by floods and landslides that have killed at least 482 people in one of Brazil’s deadliest natural disasters in decades. Torrents of mud and water set off by heavy rains left a trail of destruction through the mountainous Serrana region near Rio de Janeiro, toppling houses, buckling roads and burying entire families as they slept.
Australia flood clean-up starts; risk of more floods
Australia’s third-largest city began cleaning up stinking mud and debris in flood-hit areas on Friday, but whole suburbs remained submerged, smaller towns braced for more inundations and forecasters pointed to a threat of cyclones. Military aircraft and trucks fanned out across Queensland state, ferrying food and clothing over an area the size of South Africa. The state’s capital, Brisbane, a city of two million people, was virtually shut down except for the clean-up.
Sri Lanka flood toll rises to 27 as waters recede
The number of people killed in Sri Lanka’s monsoon flooding and mudslides has risen to 27 with more than a million people still displaced by the devastating disaster, officials said on Friday. The government’s Disaster Management Centre said 27 people were confirmed dead while another 12 were listed as missing following a week of heavy rains that caused floods and earthslips in the eastern, northern and central regions.