WMO Says World Hit By Record Extreme Weather Events In 2007
Geneva (AFP) Aug 07, 2007
Many parts of the world have experienced record extreme weather conditions including unusual floods, heatwaves, storms and cold snaps since the beginning of the year, the UN's weather agency said Tuesday. Preliminary observations also indicated that global land surface temperatures in January and April reached the highest levels ever recorded for those months, the World Meteorological Organisation said in a statement. The WMO said global land temperatures were likely to have been 1.89 degrees Celsius warmer than average in January and 1.37 degrees above average in April.
In Europe alone, April temperatures are thought to have been about four degrees above average, WMO scientist Omar Baddour told journalists.
The conditions match predictions of more frequent extremes given by scientists in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who are monitoring the progress and causes of global warming, Baddour underlined.
"The beginning of 2007 was very active in terms of extreme weather events," he said.
The WMO's list of extreme weather events includes current exceptionally heavy monsoon rains and floods in South Asia this summer which have affected 30 million people, as well as the severe flooding in Britain fuelled by the wettest May to July on record.
Other events include the summer heatwave in southeastern Europe, heavy rain in June that ravaged part of southern China and cyclone Gonu, the first documented tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea that hit Oman and Iran in June, causing 50 deaths.
Abnormally heavy and early rainfall in Sudan caused the River Nile to overflow in June, while unusually heavy snowfall clad South Africa and parts of South America.
In May, swell waves up to 4.5 metres (15 feet) high swamped parts of the Maldive islands, causing serious flooding and extensive damage, while across the world Uruguay was hit by the worst flooding since 1959, the WMO said.
British floods to cost three billion pounds
The floods, the country's worst for 60 years, led to almost 60,000 claims for damage in both the north and south of England, said the Association of British Insurers. It had previously forecast costs of more than two billion pounds, although analysts had already said it was more likely to be nearer three.
The most recent flooding, centred on the southwestern country of Gloucestershire, was likely to account for about half that amount, said the association.
This year could be one of the worst on record for weather-related claims, it added.
Four people were killed in the June floods which affected north and central England, while three died in the south, all in Tewkesbury, where the waters reached the feet of the town's ancient abbey.
Meanwhile, residents in 140,000 homes which had their water supplies cut by the floods were told Tuesday they can drink from taps again.
The water had been restored but was undrinkable because a treatment plant was shut down due to the floods.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Patna, India (AFP) Aug 06, 2007
Many of the millions of people forced from their homes by floods across South Asia were desperate for food and drinking water on Monday as aid workers and army battled to reach them. The flooding, described as the heaviest to hit the region in decades, has affected 31 million people and killed more than 1,600 others in India, Bangladesh and Nepal since monsoon rains began pouring down in June. India's northern Bihar state has been hit hardest by the disaster, and some of the growing number of people marooned by the swirling waters have resorted to fighting for emergency food supplies.
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