Global Warming

Sweden loses its tallest peak to global warming

Sweden has a new highest point. The Scandinavian country’s highest peak lost its title this week because record heat has been melting away the tip of a glacier that sits atop the Kebnekaise mountain, experts say.

A month ago, the mountain’s southern peak held the title, soaring to 2,101 metres above sea level.

On Tuesday, after weeks of high temperatures, it was 2,097 metres high – only 20 centimetres, or about six inches, taller than the north peak, said Professor Gunhild Rosqvist, head of the Tarfala Research Station near the mountain.

By Wednesday, enough had melted to take it below the critical height, Rosqvist said, handing the northern peak the crown. “We can estimate the melt rate based on temperature measurements. We know that it has melted because it is very hot,” she said. “We are going to measure again later this summer when the melting stops. In a month, we’ll know how bad it is.”

The shrinking peak is symbolic of climate change that also brought marked shifts for animals and vegetation, she said, and badly affected the region’s reindeer herders. July was the hottest on record in many parts of Sweden, with drought and some of the worst forest fires the country has seen.

Even if the northern peak is higher when the mountain is measured at summer’s end, the southern tip is likely to grow again in winter. The peaks could then take turns as Sweden’s highest point over the next few years.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression (td) 15w (Jongdari), located approximately 178 nm north-northwest of Kadena AFB, Japan, is tracking northward at 07 knots.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Hector is located about 1065 mi…1710 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…70 mph…110 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 285 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

NewsBytes:

Sweden -The Uppsala Central Station, the main railway station located in Uppsala – Sweden’s fourth-largest city – was flooded due to a torrential bout of summer rain on Sunday. Traffic in the city was also disrupted.

Myanmar – Fears that embankments could burst under fresh rains mounted on Wednesday in flooded southeastern Myanmar, where more than 130,000 people have been forced from their homes and a dozen people killed. A vast area of farmland across four provinces lies under muddy water with rescue teams trying to reach villages by boat to provide food to those who are unable or refuse to leave their homes.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Sweden

Italian firefighting planes have been called in to help battle numerous wildfires across Sweden.

Sweden has been fighting wildfires all summer, and more were reported overnight, including in the Hälsingland region were firefighters have already spent days trying to put out blazes.

In Ljusdal municipality in Gävleborg county, residents in Enskogen and Ängra have been told to evacuate, and people in surrounding areas should stay inside and close doors and windows.

Dalarna, Jämtland and Gävleborg counties are the worst affected by the wildfires. At midnight, fire and rescue services in the Jämtland region reported 12 ongoing forest fires in their county.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Sweden

Sweden’s heatwave shows no sign of ending, but there is a risk of forest fires in almost all of the country, and the drought is a problem for farmers. National weather agency SMHI currently has wildfire warnings in place in all of Sweden apart from in the mountains in the north-west. More than 2,000 calls came in to emergency services during the month of June alone about wildfires and the public is urged to respect any barbecue bans in place in their local area.

Wildfires – Siberia

Smoke created from massive wildfires more than 4,000 miles away in Siberia reached New England this week. The wildfires were burning in eastern Siberia and have lofted massive amounts of smoke high into the atmosphere. Strong winds aloft in the polar jet stream carried some of the smoke from the fires across the Bering Strait and into northern Alaska, then southeastward into central Canada and eventually across the Great Lakes and eastward into southern New England.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the North Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 02a (Mekunu), located approximately 555 nm south-southwest of Masirah Island, is tracking north-northwestward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

India – Six people died and almost 18,000 are living in relief camps after flash floods triggered mudslides in Tripura. Parts of the state capital Agartala and outskirts of West Tripura, Khowai, Gomati and Sepahijala districts have been submerged.

Somalia – At least six people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed following heavy rainfall and flooding in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia.

Sweden – Few would complain about the warmer weather Sweden is basking in these days, but in some parts of the country it has caused problems, thawing vast bodies of snow at a faster rate than usual. That is the case for the Vindelälven river in northern Sweden, where fast-melting snow caused the river to burst its banks and flood nearby buildings as the water level almost doubled. Photographer Grahame Soden, who captured dramatic images of the flood, described the river as a “raging torrent” for the last few days.

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Virginia, USA – Heavy rainfall and storms that hit Central Virginia on Tuesday afternoon have reportedly caused damage and flooded roads throughout the area. Flooding has been reported on the Midlothian Turnpike and Forest Hill and Westover Hills Boulevard.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Sweden

Forest fires swept across central Sweden on Tuesday, including the Vrinnevi forest in Norrköping, Järpmyrberget in Ockelbo and along the railroad between Grängesberg and Ludvika in Dalarna. A fire near Lidhult in the southern Småland region which took days to put out last week flared up again at around noon.

Disease

Lassa Fever – Sweden

On 1 April 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for Sweden notified WHO of an imported case of Lassa fever infection.

Cholera – Kenya – Update

Kenya’s health ministry confirmed on Friday that 216 people have died from an outbreak of cholera since December last year.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri revealed the country registered a total of 13,299 cases across 28 counties, Xinhua reported. He said that multiple peaks have been observed as the outbreak spreads to new counties since it was first reported in Nairobi, showing propagated transmission.

A total of 259 new cases were reported in the last one week in various health facilities in parts of the country.

However, the official said that 16 counties so far have managed to successfully contain the outbreak of the disease. “Even though the disease continues being reported in some parts of the country, no death has been reported in the past one week.”

Disease

Leprosy in Florida, USA

Three people have been recently diagnosed with Leprosy in Volusia County, Florida. Two of the three have recently been in contact with armadillos who are carriers of the disease, which is easily treatable but can induce skin lesions and nerve damage if left untreated.

The incubation period can last as long as ten years. Ulcers, muscle weakness and eye problems are early signs of the disease.

Measles outbreak spreads to Sweden

Sweden has recorded its first case of measles linked to the recent massive outbreak across Europe with healthcare services responding with calls for extra vigilance. However, the risk of a major outbreak in Sweden is very small.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Sweden – Heavy rains and flash floods have snarled road and rail traffic in Sweden and Denmark, with divers called to rescue people in submerged vehicles. Overnight rains which spread into Sunday forced the evacuation of residents from waterlogged homes in some areas. Buses in the Swedish city of Malmo came to halt after vehicles broke down on flooded roads. Divers and rescue workers helped passengers trapped in submerged cars and buses, in one case breaking the window of a bus and dragging people out on an extended ladder.

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Global Warming

Global warming is about to turn Sweden’s highest mountain into its second highest

The snow-capped southern peak of Lapland’s Kebnekaise, in the Scandinavian Mountains, reaches 2,097.5 meters (6,881.6 feet) above sea level, making it the highest point in Sweden. But not for long.

The 40-meter-thick glacier on top of it has been shrinking, on average, a meter a year for the past two decades. In 1901, when the southern peak was first measured, its elevation was 2,121 meters.

By next year, scientists at the University of Stockholm predict, Kebnekaise’s northern peak—which is solid rock—will likely become the tallest spot in the country.

The culprit? Climate change. A recent research paper that tracked 47 years of air-temperature records in Tarfala Valley, below the Kebnekaise glacier, found a significant warming trend. The period from 1995 to 2011 was 1.08°C warmer than the period from 1965 to 1994. Eight of the ten warmest years covered by the study occurred since 1999.

Mean yearly temp c at tarfala station sweden 1965 2011 annual temperature chartbuilder

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm Karina is located about 1275 mi…2050 km E of Hilo Hawaii and about 1785 mi…2870 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Present movement…ESE or 110 degrees at 2 mph…4 km/h.

Tropical storm Lowell is located about 805 mi…1290 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. present movement…NW or 315 degrees at 3 mph…6 km/h.

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NewsBytes:

Arizona, USA – Heavy monsoon season rains that swept across Arizona on Tuesday led to dramatic rescues, road closures and flight delays as a series of fast-moving storms pummelled the state. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for much of the metro area and north of the city where up to 8 inches of rain fell by midday in some of the mountainous regions along Interstate 17.

Sweden – Rain continued to bucket down over parts of Sweden on Wednesday night, adding the town of Kristinehamn, Värmland to the list of towns partially under water. Towns in Halland, Bohuslän, and Värmland have now been affected by flooding.

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Wildfires

Forest Fire in Sweden

Sweden is fighting a huge forest fire raging in central part of the country as officials say the wildfire is the worst in Scandinavia in 40 years.

Two French Canadair CL-415 water-bombing planes flew from their base near Marseille in the south of France to help quench the raging flames.

The planes joined two similar Italian air tanker fire aircraft in fighting the wildfire.

According to reports, Sweden does not have any air tankers of its own and has been relying on helicopters to control the blaze.

The fire, which broke out on July 31, has already destroyed 150 square kilometers of forests in central Sweden.

It also claimed its first victim on Tuesday, when a 30-year-old man was found dead with severe burns in an area swept by flames.

Scores of firefighters are battling the wildfire while about 1,000 people have been evacuated from villages and towns threatened by the fire in Vastmanland province, about 140 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Stockholm.

Wildfires

Wildfires – California

A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento on Saturday, a day after the blaze broke out, fire officials said.

The wind-swept fire burned more than 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), destroying five residences and two outbuildings and causing one minor injury. The fire is centred about 5 miles (8 km) north of the town of Plymouth and 30 miles east of Sacramento in north central California and it covers parts of Amador and El Dorado counties, according to Cal Fire.

About 250 homes were ordered evacuated on Saturday afternoon, bringing the total number to 515 since the blaze erupted on Friday, Tolmachoff said.

Wildfires in Sweden

A wide-ranging wildfire is burning in the Vehmersalmi district of Kuopio, spreading to 10 hectares of land. Rescue services say the fire has not yet been retained and fire fighting operations are expected to go on well into the night.

Fire-fighting efforts are being complicated by a strong wind that is effectively spreading the flames. The cause of the fire has not been established, but the Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued a forest fire warning for most of the country due to the very hot and dry weather.

Three separate wildfires have also broken out near the city of Lappeenranta and one near Luumäki. 12 different firefighting units are battling the blazes, incorporating 80 firefighters. A Boarder Guard helicopter is also in use.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

WHO continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The current epidemic trend shows a mixed picture, as follows:

Liberia reported 16 new EVD cases and Sierra Leone, 34 new cases – since 3 July. These numbers indicate that active viral transmission continues in the community.

There has been a reduction in the number of new EVD cases reported in Guinea, with no new cases during the last 7 days.

WHO continues to encourage and support outbreak containment measures in the three countries.

Newcastle Disease in Sweden

A new outbreak of Newcastle disease has been confirmed in Swedish poultry, in the same area as the previous one.

The veterinary authority sent an Immediate Notification dated 4 July to the World Organisation for Animal Helath (OIE).

The report outlines a new outbreak of Newcastle disease, which started on 3 July at Motala in the county of Östergötlands in the south-east of the country.

The affected birds were housed 38-week-old laying hens in a flock of 16,300. There was a history of egg drop but no birds are reported to have shown signs of the disease. The flock has been destroyed.

African swine fever outbreak in Latvia

Latvia became the third EU state to report instances of African swine fever (ASF) after 13 wild boar and four farmed pigs tested positive for the disease.

Wildlife

Jellyfish Jam Swedish Nuclear Reactor Cooling

One of the world’s largest nuclear power reactors was forced to shut down after masses of jellyfish clogged pipes carrying seawater that cools the plant’s three reactors and turbine generators.

Officials at Sweden’s Oskarshamn nuclear power station scrambled to shut down reactor No. 3 after tons of the common moon jellyfish became caught in the pipes.

Oskarshamn spokesman Anders Osterberg said the jellyfish entered the pipes at about 60 feet below the surface of the Baltic Sea.

But he said they had not gotten through the plant’s filters or come anywhere near the reactor.

All of Oskarshamn’s reactors are boiling-water types, like those at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Nuclear power plants are typically built next to large bodies of water because they require a steady flow of cool water.

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