Thursday, January 10, 2013
China's icy weather shatters records Chinese officials blame global warming for causing the bitter cold front in their country. An unusually cold winter across China has some regions hitting their lowest average temperatures in more than 40 years, according to state media reports. The Chinese national meteorological agency said polar fronts caused by global warming are to blame for the frigid air. The freeze is the coldest winter in 28 years, the English-language newspaper China Daily reported. The national average temperature across China's vast territory was a chilly 25.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 3.8 degrees Celsius) since late November. In northeast China, which typically has snowy, cold winters, the average temperature was an icy 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15.3 degrees Celsius), the lowest in 42 years. Temperatures have dropped down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in eastern Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang and the Arctic reaches of northeast China. (Mohe, in northeast China, holds China's record low temperature of minus 62.1 F, or minus 52.3 C, set on Feb. 13, 1962). ....As of last week, about a thousand ships were stuck in ice in Laizhou Bay in the eastern Bohai Sea, according to China Daily. Some 10,500 square miles (27,000 square kilometers) of sea surface has frozen in Bohai Bay, the greatest ice extent since records began in 2008, according to the Chinese Meteorological Association. Northern India is also suffering from record cold winter temperatures, Weather Underground reported. In Uttar Pradesh, home to New Delhi, 175 people have died from the cold. The high on Jan. 2 was just 49.6 F (9.8 C), the coldest daily maximum in 44 years. Brutal cold is also shattering records across Russia. This winter is the coldest on record since 1938, and temperatures plunged as low as minus 58 F (minus 50 C) in some areas. ___________________________________ Australia, a country on fire A firefighter watches as a helicopter flies away to perform water-bombing operations against a bushfire that is scorching the Sandhills of Bungendore on Jan. 9 in New South Wales, Australia. In the midst of what could be one of Australia's hottest summers on record, thousands of firefighters are battling 140 bushfires ravaging New South Wales. Authorities have rated the string of bushfires as "catastrophic," meaning that the flames are fast, uncontained, uncontrollable and unpredictable. The weather is so hot and dry in the Land Down Under that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was forced to add an entirely new color to its heat index maps. In the map below, the purple splotch reflects a record-breaking 129.2 degrees observed on Jan. 8. This new record temperature leaps 6 degrees above the previous record high of 123 degrees, which was recorded in 1960 at the Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia.