12th November - Today's News: Woman Dies as Gales Sweep Britain

Whilst yesterday's storm was by no means exception, it was the first time we'd had widespread gales across the British isles for some time. So little wonder it caused problems. Sadly a woman impales by tree branch in Wakefield dies.

There were ferries and traffic disrupted as winds batter Kent, as strong winds and rain batter Wales. In Ulster there are 600 homes without power after gales while a child has lucky escape as tree hits car. They had the promendade closed as strong winds hit Blackpool and fallen trees and debris block Isle of Man roads.

But the stormy weather has been beneficial to a few as surfers have been chasing the biggest waves in the world ... in Ireland.

And it's been breezy elsewhere too as wind knocks down trees, power line in SoCal

Record high temperatures return to Russia - Thursday's maxima of 14.5c in Moscow is nearly 2c higher than the November record prior to this year of 12.6c in 1927. And after a week of record high temperatures and strong winds, more than 200 wildfires raging in Bulgaria.

Good news as last winter's snow meant Cairngorm ski bosses publish bumper profits. Bad news as winter road closure will mean the 'death of ski-ing at Glencoe' - doubly galling for the owners as they too had a good season last winter and have reason to expect another good one with winter. If anyone can get there! That said, the road does need sorting and winter's teh only reasonable time to do so. And an alternative route from the central belt to Glencoe does exist via Callendar to Crianlarich. Just not convenient for Glaswegians.

Winter arrives in Asia as heavy snow disrupts traffic, closes schools in N China meanwhile plans have been announced for Beijing to melt snow to address water shortage.

There's evidence of extreme global warming in the ancient past - but did CO2 cause a temperature rise, or did atmospheric concentrations rise as a result of a temperature rise which happened for other reasons? The latter suggestion is dismissed here because the rise is 'too high'. But why is it too high? Can we say for sure that if the world were 6c warmer than the atmosphere would not be able to hold twice as much CO2? Beware of drawing the conclusion you want to be the right one. And beware too of comparing the past with the present. There were, for example, no extensive ice sheets at either pole before this temp/CO2 increase and continents were positioned differently. What happened then will not happen the same today.

However, going back a bit further, we find that tropical forest diversity increased during ancient global warming event. Again, not analogous to our current situation. There were no humans around 60 million years ago - and we, not climate, are directly the reason for reduced biodiversity on the planet today.

There's also a new explanation for the origin of high species diversity in the Amazon - which suggests Amazonia has been around a long, long time and must have maintained a high level of species diversity throughout that time in order for it to persist to this day. Well, nearly persist ....


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