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Drought, Fires, Heat Spread Across Europe - NYT

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:24 PM
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Drought, Fires, Heat Spread Across Europe - NYT
PARIS, July 18 - All through a hot summer, the temperatures in Europe have soared to unusual levels. In central France, three firefighters died Sunday fighting a barn fire. In Spain on Monday, the police discovered the bodies of 11 firefighters who had been trapped by a giant forest fire. In Switzerland, Alpine rescuers recovered the body of a climber that was yielded up by a melting glacier more than 20 years after he plunged to his death.

The furnace-like weather has caused the worst droughts in several countries since the early postwar years, when records were first kept. Tinder-dry conditions now stretch from North Africa to the north of France, causing billions of euros' worth of damage. As temperatures threatened to soar in parts of France through the week, the health minister, Xavier Bertrand, released more than $31 million in emergency financing to help protect elderly people from the effects of the heat. The plan was set up after the summer of 2003, when high summer temperatures killed 15,000 people, most of them elderly, prompting a national outcry. Mr. Bertrand acted after two elderly homeless people were found dead in Brittany, apparently heat victims. One unexpected consequence of the drought has been the appearance in southern France of swarms of locusts, which are more common in Africa and have attacked broad swaths of farmland.

Spain's cabinet met Monday about the forest fire burning for three days, set off by an illegal barbecue grill in a nature reserve in the Guadalajara area, east of Madrid. Nine planes have been sent to fight the fire, including two from France. A deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, who went to the area on Sunday, was booed by residents who accused the government of acting too slowly and doing too little to fight the fires. Spaniards were shocked by the details of the death of the 11 firefighters, whose patrol apparently was encircled by flames on Sunday after a sudden change in the wind direction.

The dry spell, which has been afflicting Spain for nearly a year, led the national and regional governments to put tight limits on water use, particularly for irrigation, jeopardizing production in various farm industries, especially olives and cereals.

EDIT

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/international/europe/...
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 10:13 PM
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1. Looks like the N. Atlantic Thermohaline return current is shot to hell
No moisture or cooling coming in from the North, but plenty of heat from the summer Sun beating down mid-continent.

I also suspect that within a month, we'll be hearing of an Arctic-wide heat wave, hundred-degree temperatures ("in the upper 30s and low 40s" for our metrically-literate non-American readers :) ) and massive CO2 and methane release.

At some point, we'll see a winter "Zone of Storms" develop in the low Arctic and high sub-Arctic latitudes that year after year lasts longer and longer until it is a year-round phenomenon. This is how the next Ice Age ("little" or otherwise") will start.

The good news is that very soon, there will not be enough oil being burned to feed the climatological fire. Dress warm.

--p!
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-05 07:10 AM
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2. About time for a new glaciation anyway.
Polar bears need to be rescued. Gaia is getting annoyed and starting to react to the infestation.
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