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November 14, 2018, 05:05:37 PM
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Latest Member: InaMerlo Forum  |  Movies  |  Press Releases and Film News  |  A common link among fire, floods, food riots: extreme weather « previous next »
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Author Topic: A common link among fire, floods, food riots: extreme weather  (Read 844 times)
B-Movie Kraken

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Either he's dead or my watch has stopped!

« on: September 07, 2010, 10:33:16 PM »

A common link among fire, floods, food riots: extreme weather
(this is not the entire article, see link below, I have edited the portions I have used) 
Deadly riots in the streets of Mozambique over sharply higher food prices have left 13 dead. Anger is growing in Egypt and Serbia as well. Panicked Russian shoppers have cleared the shelves of staple grains. And the devastating floods that have left as many as 10  million Pakistanis homeless are also raising concerns about the country's ability to feed itself.

A series of isolated disasters? Not at all. The common thread: extreme weather, which is putting pressure on food supplies around the globe...
...For most of the summer, Russia was in the grip of an unprecedented heat wave. Fires darkened the skies of Moscow with thick smoke, and the Russian wheat crop withered and burned. Fully a third of the usual Russian harvest of buckwheat -- one of the country's most commonly used grains -- was lost. That has led to shortages of wheat at home in Russia -- and an export ban on Russian wheat.

The export cutback has in turn driven up food prices in countries like Mozambique and Egypt, which depend on food imports, sparking anger and riots.

Meanwhile, the same weather pattern of high pressure that brought searing heat to Russia diverted moisture in the atmosphere toward Pakistan, causing torrential rains and devastating flooding... There's no overall shortage of food. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization says that 2010 brought the third-largest harvest of grains on record, leaving global food stocks high.

But the shortfall in Russian wheat did push up grain prices. As a result, the government of Mozambique raised the official price of bread by 20%. That touched off the riots, forcing the government to backtrack.

In hard-hit Pakistan, prices of food have risen 15%... 

...Nevertheless, the long-term threat -- the potential impact of climate change on agriculture throughout the globe -- is major. Until recently, scientists were careful to say that any single natural disastrous climate event, such as the Russian drought or Hurricane Katrina, could not be attributed to global warming. No longer. "The issue isn't whether these events are natural or caused by climate change," former Energy Department official Joseph J. Romm told Yahoo! News. "It's both. You can't separate the two."

For instance, a study by Kevin Trenberth -- head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. -- has shown that Hurricane Katrina dumped more rain on the Gulf Coast than would have happened without climate change.

"What we can say is that certain events would have been extremely unlikely to have occurred without global warming, and that includes the Russian heat wave and wildfires, and Pakistan, Chinese and Indian floods," Trenberth told Yahoo! News.

Even the Russians have become believers in the threat. The Russian government used to doubt the existence of climate change, or argue that it might be beneficial for Russia to get a bit warmer.

Now, suggests Romm, they've realized that global warming won't bring a gradual and relatively benign increase in temperatures. Instead, as scientists' climate models have long predicted, the effect will be to intensify extreme events. As Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Russian Security Council this month: "Everyone is talking about climate change now. Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past."

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