9th February - Today's News: Food Concerns Over Ongoing China Drought

China suffers worst drought in 60 years - so much for cloud seeding then! And UN Food agency issues warning on China drought with a big wheat sortage expected.

In Australia, the Blue mountains swelter in record heatwave

At a conference in NZ, extreme weather experts discuss recent events that have afflicted Australia. Or rather they won't since according to the news report: "The extreme weather experts will not be discussing the latest weather events at the conference but will look at patterns from a few years ago to help determine what will happen in the future."

Warm February may be sign of hot year ahead for India

Apparently polar bears having fewer cubs due to global warming - though yet again no explanation as to how the bears survived the warmer mid Holocene. Meanwhile, record low Arctic ice reported in January. Not surprising with a negative AO. You can see the full NSIDC Report here.

The NOAA report for January shows that it was the coldest in the US since 1994, but also one of the driest on record. And after last week's snowstorm, some snow-buried states brace for another round.

Tuesday was the day the floods returned to Shropshire - thanks to rain that fell at the weekend over Mid Wales.

Hmmm, Russia scraps winter time to cut stress - effectively moving one time zone east. Why not stick to 'winter' time? I'm interested to note also that "Medvedev last year changed Kamchatka's time zone to eight hours rather than nine hours ahead of Moscow, a move that sparked street protests in the Far East region." Also of note: The Soviet Union introduced a switch to summer time in 1981 and the issue has been the subject of lively discussion ever since." So presumably before then they were on normal time all year round? And more intriguingly: "The president's top economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich said that Russian regions would see 7-17 percent more daylight in winter as a result of the decision" - I hopefully don't need to point out that that's a straight out lie. The hours of daylight will of course remain the same, it's just the time on our clocks that changes. Still, that's the Russians for you.

Next large central US earthquake may not be along New Madrid fault line and for Europe (and air travellers) worrying suggestions that another Icelandic volcano 'set to erupt'. Though probably not imminently!

Palm oil deal aims to save forests and carbon

Indigenous tribes protest against Amazon dam - but they don't need electricity, so who cares what they think?

Wind statistics raise concerns about U.K. renewable policy - and we still don't know when wind power will break even, admits energy minister

And finally, excellent news that at long last mountain rescue teams win battle over VAT

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