8th September - Today's News

My mildest September night on record last night - falling to just 17.5c (which is not far off the average max this time of year!). And only 2 warmer nights the whole of this summer. A breezy but warm and muggy day today - but the good news is that from tomorrow we see high pressure build over the country and it looks like sticking around for a week or more, giving a spell of fine, dry settled weather, a bit misty at times and maybe more cloudy towards the east at time. No heatwave but a nice respite for those who had so much rain of late. And, no it's not an 'Indian Summer' because we ain't had a 'killing frost' yet. It's rare to get a chance of an 'Indian Summer' in England before mid October and more often it's November ....

Mexico water shortage becomes crises amidst drought - so rather ironic that rain floods Mexico City homes, subway. Though downpours of this nature generally do little to alleviate droughts due to the rapid runoff and localised nature of the rain. What's needed is regular, light to moderate rain (typically from frontal systems) that can percolate down and replenish the water table. There's additional irony in that Mexico City was originally built on a lake.

One I missed last week: Shrinking Bylot Island glaciers tell story of climate change. Regardless of how accurate temperature proxy reconstructions are, what the Arctic temperature was in the 1930s compared to today, or how much the world as a whole is warming, there seems no doubt that in the Baffin Island area glaciers are currently retreating - and retreating back further than they've been since before the MWP. Natural variation can explain some retreat - but unless it's warmer than the MWP why so much retreat? And why, then, is it warmer than the MWP ....... ?

One of the less obvious (until you think about it) consequences of wildfires is highlight by Utah wildfire prompts flood fears. Natural fires of course causing the same damage as deliberate deforestation. Though in this case at least the vegetation should in time recover. Haiti more than anywhere else knows the deadly consequences of such deforestation and it's hardly surprising to read that 1 killed in Haiti mudslide after a few hours of rain. This is why we should not be encouraging 3rd world countries to "improve" their economy by the shirt sighted tactic of slash and burn destruction of the natural forests, but looking at developing more sustainable methods. Every villager who burns down some forest to grow produce to sell to Europe brings a few more pennies in today but condemns his family to an ever increasing risk of death. Is it worth it? But for now, the demand for soya, palm oil and biofuel - and cheap food generally - in the West outweighs common sense.


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