Natural disasters have blanketed the world’s news media in recent weeks, with their incalculable impact on the people in several countries. In Pakistan, millions have suffered, floundering or grieving. Flooding there has been measured on a scale not seen for 80 years. Ominously, the UN calculated the material cost at greater than the region’s 2004 tsunami devastation.
India and China, too, have been struck. Rain gorged rivers, and, in the northeastern Chinese region of Gansu, deadly mudslides tore communities apart. Flooding also in the centre and south of China has claimed many lives since the start of this year.
Russia, in contrast, has had to cope with the scorching effects of not enough precipitation, parts of the country feeling temperatures Russian meteorological sources say are unprecedented in a thousand years! Vast forest lands burst into flame, darkening the sky with smoke. In Moscow, the president publically linked furnace-like weather conditions with changes to our climate.
For a politician to say that is one thing, but the experts who study these phenomena are less categorical about what may have driven the weather wild.
Even so, observers of every stripe pointed to the colder reaches of the earth only days ago, saying here, truly, was evidence of global warming — when part of a glacier (now an island iceberg 70km long) broke free from Greenland.