World Climate Roundup: Jet Stream's Stall Over Asia Causes Chaos, Heat Builds in the West

The world is experiencing the climate in stark, unforgiving and eye opening ways. The jet stream has locked in place over Asia, producing extreme weather, day after day, while a dome of high pressure over the middle of the U.S. drives temperatures up in the Western hemisphere.

Russia is fighting smog from over 900 forest and peat bog fires that now threaten to go radioactive due to the dust leftover from the Chernobyl disaster. Pakistan is experiencing record flooding along the Indus River that has destroyed a significant number of crops and has left whole populations homeless with many dead. China's floods have presented themselves as massive slides of mud and rock. In Portugal, it's fires again. In Spain, it's jellyfish washing on shore in such massive numbers that over seven hundred beach goers were stung.

Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions

Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Pakistan and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way.

The Economist: A taste of things to come

As torrential storms visit unprecedented flooding on Pakistan, thousands of kilometres to the northwest Russia burns. The two events are linked by a large-scale pattern of atmospheric circulation which is producing a particularly persistent area of high pressure over Russia. They are also linked in both being the sort of events climate scientists predict more of in a warming world.

According to Brian Hoskins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, the wave-generating activity of anticyclones in the Atlantic this year has been particularly well attuned to setting up these sorts of stationary waves, resulting in persistent troughs of low pressure over western and central Europe, a ridge of high pressure over Russia, and lows again to the east. The air itself does not necessarily sit still during all this, but the pressure patterns which dominate the weather persist. The high pressure over Russia is particularly pronounced and persistent, amounting to a block in the circulation of the atmosphere.

Smog Blankets Moscow as ~900 Wildfires Rage in Record Heat (Video)

Russia is experiencing an unprecedented heat wave this summer. This has led to a record outbreak of nearly nine hundred forest and peat bog fires across the country. Moscow is blanketed inside and out in toxic smoke and smog.

Russian fires threaten to stir Chernobyl radiation

MOSCOW – Wildfires threatened to stir radioactive particles left over from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster back into the air over western Russia, and authorities boosted forest patrols to keep the flames from contaminated areas.

Deadly fires rage on in Portugal

Portuguese firefighters are continuing to battle dozens of forest fires that are sweeping through the country and have killed two of their colleagues. 50 fires are burning in central and northern parts of the country, according to the Reuters news agency. The country's civil defence agency says that 1,500 firefighters have been mobilised to tackle the blazes. Around 18,000 hectares (44,500 acres) of forests and bushland are now believed to have been affected. Temperatures in some areas were forecast to reach 40C (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pakistan floods cause 'huge losses' to crops (Video)

Pakistan's floods have caused "huge losses" to its crops, the country's food minister has told the BBC. Nazar Muhammad Gondal said significant amounts of the grain, sugarcane and rice harvests had been washed away.

The US, which has already committed $55m to relief efforts, announced it was contributing another $16.2m to the UN refugee agency and the International Red Cross. In a statement this week, the Pakistani Taliban described the floods as God's punishment on the country for accepting secular leaders. They urged Pakistanis to boycott foreign aid.

China flooding expected to worsen with heavy rains

China expects heavy rain in the coming days. China flooding and mudslides have already killed more than 1,000 people, with tens of thousands still at risk. Rescuers in China are bracing for potentially more flooding just 72 hours after the country’s worst mudslide in decades.

Flotilla of Stinging Jellyfish Hit Spanish Beach

A vast flotilla of small, virtually undetectable jellyfish stung hundreds of people along Spanish beaches this week, the kind of swimmer's nightmare that biologists say will be increasingly common because of climate change.

Huge Ice Island - 100 Square Miles - Calves Off Greenland Glacier (Video)

Greenland's ice sheet has calved (broken off) a one-hundred square mile island of ice off its Petermann Glacier, which will contribute to sea level rise. Dr. Jay Zwally of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Institute has stated unequivocally that it is due to warming temperatures caused by rising C02 in the atmosphere.

In the U.S., it's heat waves:

Heat Wave Grips U.S. Midwest Through the Weekend

Temperatures in the central U.S. are forecast to climb back to the 100-degree Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius) mark this week, and in many areas it will feel much hotter than that, according to the National Weather Service.

Excessive-heat warnings have been issued for nine states along the Mississippi River and a heat advisory covers parts of seven more, the weather service said. It’s the latest heat wave of a Northern Hemisphere summer that has shattered records around the world.

Anyone see a pattern?

More to follow.


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