August 9, 2012 in Washington Voices

Extreme weather creating headaches throughout globe

Randy Mann
 

Last week I mentioned that evidence suggests that we’re in a global cycle of wide weather extremes that’s been the strongest such cycle in more than 1,000 years. Based on climatological history, this 70-year cycle of extremes is not expected to peak for another 25 years. Until then, we should continue to see more extreme heat, cold, drought and floods.

No one will argue that this summer across much of the U.S., especially east of the Rockies, has been one of the hottest in recorded history. Relentless heat and drought in the main growing areas of the country has severely damaged corn and soybean crops. Although there was some relief expected across this region this week, more heat and dry weather is likely for the middle of August.

The severe heat and dryness in the Great Plains and the Midwest has slashed prospects for the U.S. corn crop to five-year lows, and the supply of corn next year is forecast to fall to its lowest level in about 20 years. This will mean higher prices at the grocery store.

By contrast, there have been major floods in recent weeks in Japan, Russia, India, Bangladesh and Chile. The 20 inches of rain in a single day in Japan broke records dating back to the 1500s. Beijing this week had its worst flooding in 61 years – a downpour of more than 10 inches in four hours swamped downtown.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia, broke its all-time heat record June 2 with a 124.5 degrees reading. It was likewise extremely hot in Iraq on the same day, 122.9 degrees at Fao. On June 7, Kakinada, India, broke its all-time record high with a reading of 117.3 degrees.

But, for every extreme record high, there’s also a record low extreme somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

For example, record cold in Australia has kept plumbers busy fixing burst water pipes. Temperatures dipped to as low as 22 degrees several weeks ago in Alice Springs. For central Australia, this winter has been “the coldest since the 1970s,” according to weather observers there.

Record cold winter temperatures have likewise been seen in Chile and Peru in South America and in parts of South Africa, where record snows blocked some of the main highways on July 15, trapping hundreds of people in their cars. Temperatures plunged to as low as 12 degrees.

Even tropical Fiji reported record low temperatures in mid-July, as did much of New Zealand.

At the Spokane International Airport, July was warm as the average temperature was 72.1 degrees, which is 2.3 degrees above normal. There were nine days with readings at or above 90 degrees. The high for the month was 98 degrees on July 8. The airport also reported 0.84 inches of moisture, which was .20 inches above normal.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Randy Mann at www.facebook.com/ wxmann, or go to www.longrangeweather. com for additional information.


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