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Posts Tagged ‘upset’

La Nina blamed for weather upset, but climate link unclear

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am

PARIS, Jan 7, 2011 (AFP) – Experts pin the floods that have ravaged northeastern Australia on a weather phenomenon known as La Nina but are cautious whether the peril could be amplified by climate change.


La Nina, or “girl child,” is the counterpart of El Nino, or “boy child,” together comprising a pendular swing of extreme weather that affects the Pacific Rim but can be disruptive as far as the coast of southern Africa.


El Nino occurs when the trade winds that circulate surface water in the tropical Pacific start to weaken.


A mass of warm water builds in the western Pacific and eventually rides over to the eastern side of the ocean.


The outcome is a major shift in rainfall, bringing floods and mudslides to usually arid countries in western South America and drought in the western Pacific, as well as a change in nutrient-rich ocean currents that lure fish.


Eventually, El Nino peters out, sometimes when a cold phase — La Nina — starts to dominate.


At that point, the reverse happens: countries in the eastern Pacific face drier weather and those on the west, such as Australia’s Queensland, get drenched.

An Army Chinook helicopter leaves Australia’s Rockhampton transporting an electricity generator to the flood disaster area of Theodore on January 6, 2011. More heavy rains were forecast for Australia’s northeast, threatening to worsen flooding after besieged Rockhampton cut supplies to “irresponsible” residents refusing to leave. AFP

“2010 began with El Nino conditions in the Pacific followed by a rapid transition into La Nina during (the southern hemisphere’s) autumn,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says on its website.


“(…) By July, La Nina conditions were well established and most areas of Australia experienced very much above average rainfall. The second half of the year (July to December) was the wettest on record for Australia.”


In the 20th century, scientists identified 25 moderate or strong El Ninos and 17 episodes of La Nina. The toll to human life and property, in droughts and floods, has sometimes been huge.


The back-and-forth cycle — formally known as the El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO — occurs every two to seven years.


Because sea temperature plays such an important role, some climate experts are keen to determine whether man-made global warming might make it more frequent or vicious.


Prudence, though, is the watchword. ENSO is a complex mechanism and reliable oceanographic data reaches back only a century or so, which is minute given that climate history spans billions of years.


“There is no consistent indication at this time of discernible changes in projected ENSO amplitude or frequency in the 21st century,” the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crisply announced in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.


In an interview with AFP, Baylor Fox-Kemper, an oceanographer at the University of Colorado, explained: “Many models indicate that there is a link between El Nino and climate change, but they don’t agree as to what that change should be.


“Furthermore, El Nino is so noisy [a term meaning complex] that it takes many centuries of data to be sure that a change has occurred.


“Since we have only a limited amount of trusted real-world data, we are unable to validate which of these models is closest to the truth.”


Others say that despite the unknowns, logic dictates that global warming is bound to have an impact on ENSO.


“With a warmer world, one would expect the atmosphere to hold more moisture, so that when it does rain, it is heavier,” said New Zealand specialist Jim Salinger.


“So La Nina rainfall events are expected to be more intense… (although) at this stage, it is not known whether La Nina events will become more frequent.”

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Source: SGGP

South Korean ruling party upset in vote

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

South Korea’s ruling party won the key Seoul mayoral poll but suffered upsets in several other local elections held amid tensions over North Korea’s alleged torpedoing of a navy ship, officials said Thursday.


Before Wednesday’s vote, opinion polls and analysts said outrage over the ship’s sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors in March, would give a boost to the conservative ruling Grand National Party, which favors a tough North Korea policy.


Pre-election public surveys had suggested Lee’s party would win nine of the 16 key races.


But with 99 percent of votes counted early Thursday, President Lee Myung-bak’s party won only six of the 16 key mayoral and gubernatorial posts. Its chief rival, the liberal Democratic Party, obtained seven. The remaining three posts were shared by a small opposition party and two independent candidates.

Chung Mong-joon, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party, attends a meeting of the party leaders at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 3, 2010.

An analysis piece in Thursday’s mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the sinking of the Cheonan had whipped up anti-North Korea sentiment, but many conservative voters didn’t bother to vote. The Dong-a Ilbo, another major newspaper, said the resulting crisis appeared to have calmed down in the days before the election.


In the Seoul race, the ruling party incumbent and a potential presidential aspirant, Oh Se-hoon, narrowly defeated the Democratic Party’s Han Myung-sook, the nation’s first female prime minister under the government of former President Roh Moo-hyun. The race had been too close to call and Oh was declared the winner more than 10 hours after ballot counting started.


“I’ll accept today’s victory with a humble position that I had almost lost,” Oh said, according to Yonhap news agency.


Ruling party chief Chung Mong-joon and his top deputies offered to resign Thursday to take the responsibility for defeats in many of the local elections, according to his office.


Voter Hwang Jong-hwan, 28, a barber, said domestic issues influenced his vote more than the ship incident.


“Just like what the Americans always say,” he said, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Source: SGGP

Power outages upset daily lives, businesses

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Continuous power cuts during the intensely hot weather of late have drastically affected people’s lives and businesses.  

People forced to use bamboo fans due to power cuts during the intensely hot weather (Photo: Vietnam Net)

Northern provinces have all faced power failures for over a month. Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang, Lang Son, Ha Nam and Thai Binh provinces have had to endure alternating power cuts to economize scarce energy supplies.
 
Many people left without power for rice cookers and rice-husking machines, have been victims of the power cuts.  In addition, water companies have had to cut off the water supply.
 
Unable to tolerate the suffocating head without air-conditioning, people have been cooling off in rivers and ponds.
 
Nguyen Huu Tinh, deputy head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Hanoi’s Dan Phuong District, acknowledged the non-stop power cut of recent days has upset people’s daily lives and businesses very much.
 
He said, “Furniture makers in the district’s Lien Hong Commune have faced a total loss of VND350 million (US$18,400) a day due to the power failure. They have had to have their employees quit.”
 
In Hanoi’s Phu Xuyen District, hundreds of incubation mills, which supply eggs to entire the North, have also faced difficulties caused by the energy cut.
 
Nguyen Xuan Cung, owner of an egg-incubating mill, said, “It takes 20 consecutive days to incubate a batch of eggs. But there was a sudden power cut of over 12 hours in my region on May 16, spoiling over 1,000 eggs, equivalent to VND10 million (US$526).”
 
To deal with the power cut, northern people have rushed to border areas, including Tan Thanh and Dong Dang in Lang Son Province and Mong Cai in Quang Ninh Province, as well as to electronic supermarkets in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ha Long and Lao Cai to buy power-conserving devices including fans and lamps.
 
However, many countryside families cannot afford the devices even though a power-conserving fan costs only VND150,000-600,000 ($8-32) and a lamp VND200,000-350,000 ($10.5-18).

Down south in Ho Chi Minh City, sales of electric fans and air conditioners have surged sharply following scorching temperatures, which rose to 38-40 Celsius degrees over the past week.
 
On May 18, sales of fans and air conditioners soared by 30-50 percent over the same period last year, selling at twice the rate of an average day.
 
Prices of beverages have increased as well, by 4-5 percent.
 
Though temperature in the north has been lower than other parts of the country, it is still hot and muggy, which have caused many children and elderly discomfort and dizziness.
 
Heat not expected to let up
 
The National Hydro-Meteorological Forecast Center said May 18, the entire country experienced severe heat that day, with HCMC and southern provinces seeing the highest temperatures.
 
Le Thanh Hai, the center’s deputy director, said the heat will continue today nationwide, and the north should see a cooler weather by May 22, while the south will suffer through more extreme heat for five to six more days.

Source: SGGP