Global Warming

Half of Greenland’s Warming Tied to Natural Causes

About half of the surface warming that’s helping shrink Greenland’s glaciers is due to temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, not greenhouse gases, a new study reports.

Sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific are already known to influence global weather patterns at lower latitudes. For example, the El Niño cycle shifts rainfall around the world, delivering precipitation to western North America and causing drought in Australia and Central America.

The new findings could explain why Greenland and the Canadian Arctic are getting hotter more quickly than other regions of the planet. The feverish temperature rise has puzzled scientists: The most up-to-date climate models, such as those in the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fail to reproduce the rapid warming seen in the Arctic.

The new study seee a link between tropical sea-surface temperatures and the North Atlantic Oscillation, a climate pattern that dominates Arctic weather. Since the 1990s, warm sea-surface temperatures in the western Pacific and cool waters in the eastern Pacific have pushed the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) into a pattern that allows high pressure above Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. (High atmospheric pressure leads to warmer temperatures.)

Climate conditions and weather events associated with extreme phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation.

NAO 1

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

On 3 and 6 May 2014, the IHR National Focal Point of Jordan notified WHO of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) infections.

In a somewhat belated report, on 15 April 2014, the IHR National Focal Point of Yemen notified WHO of a laboratory confirmed case of MERS-CoV in a 44 year-old male residing in Shibam. The patient was diagnosed as having hepatitis B and is reported to have developed symptoms on 17 March 2014, including fever, productive cough, chills, headache, muscle aches, and shortness of breath. He was admitted to hospital on 22 March 2014 in Hadramoot Governorate, and subsequently transferred on 29 March 2014 to an intensive-care unit of a private hospital in Sanaa. He was intubated, developed renal failure, and died on 31 March 2014.

Ebola – West Africa

The West Africa outbreak of Ebola virus disease appears to be easing, with only a handful of new probable cases in the past 12 days.

Guinea, the hardest-hit country in the region, is now reporting a total of 231 confirmed, probable, or suspected cases since the outbreak began, according to the World Health Organization.

But only seven of those cases have been registered since April 28, the agency said.

Neighboring Liberia has reported a total of 13 cases — six confirmed, two probable, and five suspected — but none since the middle of April. Most of the contacts of the cases have completed 21 days of follow-up and have been discharged from surveillance.