Lessons in the "Weather" Category

Hurricanes and Typhoons

Today, let’s talk about hurricanes and typhoons.

Hurricanes and typhoons are really the same weather phenomenon that can see violent winds, torrential rain, and huge waves. These can create terrible floods in the affected areas of land.

Hurricanes occur in the Atlantic. They regularly hit islands in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as parts of Florida and North Carolina, in the USA. Recently, many of these areas were hit by Hurricane Irma. The results were devastating. It was a tragedy for all involved.

Summer

Today, let’s talk about summer. The season falls between spring and autumn. Summer is normally the hottest time of the year. It’s when most of us take a summer holiday.

It is during summer that schoolchildren generally have their six week to two month long summer holiday break. The length of the break depends on which country they live in.

In summer, many families head for the beach. It’s a wonderful place to relax and get away from life for a while. Parents can relax and get a tan, while the kids build sandcastles and play in the sea. Some folk like to go hiking in the mountains. Others like to visit capital cities, like London or San Francisco.

President Trump pulls USA out of Paris climate change agreement

US President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. The decision has horrified world leaders, who widely condemned his decision.

Mr Trump claimed he did it for economic reasons, saying it would cost American jobs. The US coal industry backed the move, citing the Paris climate agreement would have badly affected the US economy. The US President said it was fulfilling his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “The US had a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas.”

The 2015 Paris agreement on climate change committed the 195 countries, including the USA, to keeping rising global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and endeavour to limit them even more to 1.5°C.

Spring

Today, we are going to talk about spring. It is one of the four seasons. Spring follows on from winter and precedes summer. The other season being autumn. Spring starts when the equinox is 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. In the UK, and Europe, spring is when the clocks go forward one hour.

Originally, spring was called Lent. In the 14th century that time of year was called springing time. This being a reference to plants springing from the ground. In the 15th century, it got shortened to spring-time. In the 16th century, it got further shortened to spring.

Autumn

Today, let’s talk about autumn. What exactly is autumn? It is a season that follows summer and is before winter. Autumn starts in Britain on the 23rd September. It is on this day that daylight and night are the same length of time. The nights now get longer and the days shorter.

Autumn is probably the most colourful time of year. It is when the leaves change colour. Many leaves turn into vivid autumn red, yellow and brown colours that so many people love to see. Autumn is also conker season when the conkers fall from Horse Chestnut trees.

Autumn is the time of falling leaves. Many leaves are blown off the trees. Often they form a magnificent carpet of different coloured leaves on the ground. It is a sign that winter is on its way!

Is the sun going to sleep?

Is the sun going to sleep? It’s an interesting question. Scientists have said that the sun is in a phase of a “solar lull” – meaning it has fallen asleep. This is baffling them as right now the sun is actually at its solar maximum – the point where it is at a peak of its 11-year cycle. The giant ball of plasma should be spewing out more flares and sunspots than normal. Instead it is relatively quiet.

Analyses of ice-cores, which hold a long-term record of solar activity, suggest the decline in activity is the fastest that has been seen in 10,000 years. In the near future Europe could see ‘a cold snap’ forming more often; with cold air coming in from Russia and the Arctic.

Category: Science / The Sun / Temperature Change

The Philippines typhoon disaster

Today, we will talk about Typhoon Haiyan that recently caused severe devastation right across the Central Philippines. At the time of writing more than 10,000 people have been killed by the typhoon. The race is on to help survivors. Meanwhile more than a million people in Vietnam have fled their homes ahead of the storms arrival there.

Category: Philippines / Typhoon Haiyan / Weather

Bangkok floods – possible disease

Bangkok - Floodwater continues to pour into the Thai capital flooding outlying areas of the city, forcing many of its two million residents to evacuate. This has provoked intense anger from those living in the deluged districts. Residents in some suburbs feel their districts have been sacrificed to save the city centre.

The government says efforts to protect the centre from the rising floodwaters have been largely successful. The threat of disease now looms for those having to wade through these floodwaters. The water in the outlying areas now has sewage, rubbish and dead animals in it.

Charities working in the country warn about diarrhoea, dengue fever and malaria in the coming weeks. Immediate threats include mosquitoes that are breeding rapidly, and people are afraid of snakes and crocodiles in the waist high waters. Accumulated flood water caused by weeks of monsoon rain is still draining from the central provinces through channels in and around Bangkok to the sea. Officials are warning it will be many weeks before the situation stabilises.

Category: Thailand / Bangkok / Flooding

Icelandic volcanic ash creates travel chaos

Spectacular scenes emerged from southern Iceland recently as its Eyjafjallajoekull volcano began erupting. On April 14th it suddenly began sending a plume of ash 8.5 km (5.3 miles) high into the air. The volcanic ash spewed out gradually spreading across Europe, causing travel chaos, not only in Europe but worldwide.

Within days, the ash had crossed many parts of Europe, forcing closure of most of Europe’s air routes. The Met Office in Britain warned the disruption could go on for another week, causing flight misery to passengers. Geologists warned the travel chaos could last months.

Meanwhile airports remained closed across much of Europe. Travellers instead opted for any means possible to get home. Cross channel ferry services were rapidly booked up, as was Eurostar, who raised prices and was accused of profiteering.

Philippines calamity following tropical storm

Torrential rains in the Philippines caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana caused utter devastation across the country recently. One of the worst places to be affected was the capital Manila. It suffered its worst ever flooding with more than 80% of the city submerged. More than 246 people were killed. Another 450,000 people were displaced. A further 380,000 people ended up in makeshift shelters. Telephone and power services to the capital were cut.

The government declared a “state of calamity” in Manila and 25 provinces on the weekend it struck. This allowed access to emergency funds. Soldiers, police, medics and a huge number of volunteers were involved in the effort to help rescue over 7,900 flood victims. Local government officials said survivors in makeshift evacuation camps were desperately short of food, water and clothes.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo visited the devastated areas. She appealed for calm and for donations to aid rescue efforts. She described the storm as an “extreme event”...