As of Friday August 9th, the heat wave in eastern Asia continues but in central Europe it has subsided. Some of the highlights below.
This map illustrates quite well where the core of the heat wave in China has taken place. It is dated August 1st, so you can now add 9 more days to number of days of “continuous high temperatures” which means days of 35°C+ (95°F+). Map from the Chinese newspaper ‘Global Times’.
On Wednesday August 7th Shanghai once again broke its all-time heat record with a 40.8°C (105.4°F) temperature, besting the record set just the day before (40.6°C/105.1°F), and also on July 26th. Prior to this summer, the record for Shanghai was 40.2°C (104.4°F) during the summer of 1934. Records in Shanghai date back to 1872. On August 8th the Read more…
Governments worldwide are failing to do enough to tackle drought, which lacks the headline-making punch of a hurricane but can have an equally devastating human and economic impact, the UN weather agency warned Thursday.
“A flood or hurricane is over within hours or days. A drought can last weeks, months, a season, a year. But droughts can cause as many deaths over time as any other natural disaster,” said Robert Stefanski, head of World Meteorological Organisation?s (WMO) agriculture division.
Droughts in recent years have struck regions ranging from the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, China, India, Mexico and Brazil to the United States, Russia and southeastern Europe.
Droughts are estimated to affect tens of millions of people and cause tens of billions of dollars in economic losses every year.
They are expected to increase in frequency, area and intensity due to climate change, yet Read more…
Huge, mysterious pillars of light have ‘emerged’ near the town of Palotino, Brazil on the 17th of December, 2012
As the Amazon rainforest disappears, rainfall falters over a much wider area
When Amazon rainforest disappears, so does Amazon rain.
That’s the conclusion of new research that shows deforestation can significantly reduce tropical rainfall far from the area where trees have been cut down.
That’s because air passing over forests picks up moisture given off by trees and plants, fueling rains. When those trees disappear, so does some of that rain.
“What we found was this really strong impact — air that traveled over a lot of forest brought a lot more rain than air that didn’t travel over very much forest,” said lead author Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds.
His research, published yesterday in the journal Nature, helps reconcile a situation that has puzzled scientists.
Climate models project that Amazon deforestation would reduce rainfall regionally. But limited observations show that rainfall in deforested areas is higher than in areas where the rainforest is still intact.
(Scientists believe that when trees are cut down, the bare surfaces left behind absorb more Read more…
As China is expected to rise to the status of a financial super power within the next 8 years and eclipse the US economy by 2020 Africa becomes center stage in the greatest currency war the world has seen since the 1930s which is now shifting into overdrive.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, collectively known as the BRICS nations, are moving forward with their plan to unseat the US dollar from its throne as the global trade currency and to replace it with a Chinese denominated “super-sovereign” international currency.
This Geo-political game to establish global monetary dominance is by no means limited to the attack on the US dollar.
Instead this is merely the first strike of a concerted campaign of worldwide economic Read more…
India is proposing the creation of a multilateral bank to exclusively finance projects in BRIC countries, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg cited an Indian official who told the news service the plan is likely to be discussed at this weekend’s Group of 20 finance ministers meeting in Mexico City. The official said the plan was in an early, exploratory phase but had been circulated among the BRICs and shared with South African officials, Bloomberg noted.
The BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China. As it’s described now, the proposed bank would be funded exclusively by developing nations and finance projects in only those nations.
Reuters reported that Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega is sympathetic to the idea.
Emerging market economies have in recent years become a larger driver of global growth than more established markets. They have been pushing for greater representation at the World Bank and IMF as their clout in the global economy has grown.
In the last 5 years China’s military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean have grown at an unprecedented rate. Beijing now regularly hosts officers from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay in its military academies, has expanded arms sales and technology transfers to countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela, and in October last year even sent a navy ship to the Caribbean.
Is China—now Brazil and Chile’s number-one trade partner—buttressing its economic interests in the Western Hemisphere with military ties and alliances? Is this the Middle Kingdom’s equivalent of President Barack Obama’s Pacific pivot to balance China’s saber rattling in Asia?
There’s no doubt that China’s torrid economic growth rate and its arrival as an emerging—if not already emerged—global economic superpower has shifted the international system and brought a more muscular Chinese foreign policy. That policy—part of what the Chinese labeled its “Going Out” strategy—has come with a growing Chinese diplomatic, economic and even military presence in many of its closest trade partners. Given China’s need for raw materials to feed its manufacturing growth and urbanization—gobbling up everything from iron, to oil, to soybeans and frozen chicken—the country’s rise has been felt most obviously (at times with alarm) in Read more…
Russia strongly opposes the Western approach to the situation in Syria and its stance has largely been echoed by its partners within the BRICS. Some experts believe that BRICS is the only group that can stand against the West’s hegemonic ambitions.
“If the BRICS countries have anything to do with it, the Libyan scenario will not be put into practice in Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday after a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Antonio Patriota.
Dr Sreeram Chaulia, a Read more…
Mouths of the Amazon
A giant hidden river flows beneath the jungles of Brazil.
A river hidden underground has surfaced. Scientists estimate a subterranean river, called Rio Hamza, may be 6,000km long and hundreds of times wider than the Amazon
The territory in Brazil has 20% of freshwater on the planet, but apparently, this number may be even greater. According to the State agency, Researchers at the National Observatory (ON) found evidence of an underground river of 6,000 km in length, which runs down the Amazon River, at a depth of 4000 meters.
The two streams still have the same flow direction, ie from west to east, but its features are quite different.Brazilian scientists have discovered the existence of an underground river about 6,000 kilometers long running 4,000 meters deep Read more…
From July 2010 to July 2011 the vast South American rainforest lost 2,654 square kilometers (1,649 square miles) of vegetation in the states of Mato Grosso and Para, according to a preliminary analysis of satellite photos.
The year before, 2,295 square kilometers (1,426 square miles) were destroyed over that time period.
This July, 225 square kilometers (139 square miles) were lost to deforestation, though this was significantly less than the 485 square kilometers (301 square miles) destroyed in July 2010.
In April 477 square kilometers (296 square miles) were destroyed, with Read more…