Warming and environmental balance 2004

The year 2004 confirms global warming

Key words: global warming, global warming, greenhouse effect, pollution, CO2.

The world meteorological organization has just published a first state of the world climate for the year 2004, which will be completed in March 2005 when the data for December are known.

Global warming continues, according to the international body, as the average temperature at the earth's surface has increased by 0,44 ° C from an average of 14 ° C (determined between 1961 and 1990). These characteristics make 2004 the fourth warmest year since 1861, just behind 2003 (+ 0,49 ° C).

The year 1998 nevertheless remains in the leading pack with a temperature 0,54 ° C higher than the average. In general, the last ten years (1995 to 2005) - with the exception of 1996 - are among the warmest known since meteorological records have existed.

However, on our planet, disparities remain the law. Meteorologists observed heat waves in June and July over southern Spain, Portugal and Romania, with temperatures reaching 40 ° C.

Japan and Australia have also experienced very hot weather. In contrast, the abnormal cold that raged in July in the Andes of southern Peru caused the death of 92 people.

2004 also saw its train of droughts and floods. Early in the year, very dry weather conditions continued to affect eastern South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

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The rainy season from March to May was shorter with less than normal rainfall in the Great Horn of Africa, resulting in water scarcity in the region. For example, parts of Uganda experienced the worst drought since 1961, and in Kenya, an early end to the rains further increased an endemic drought resulting from several years of insufficient rains. As a result, agricultural production in this country has declined by about 40%. In addition, a major drought continues to hit Afghanistan, southern China, southern and eastern Australia.

Tropical cyclones

However, rainfall in 2004 was above average, as 2004 was the wettest year since 2000. The Asian monsoon from June to September resulted in heavy rains and flooding in the north. from India, Nepal and Bangladesh,
leaving millions of people homeless and killing 1 of them. Eastern and southern China have also experienced floods and landslides that have killed more than a thousand Chinese.

Heavy rains also hit Brazil, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and some Australian states. The cause of these disasters is not the El Niño climatic phenomenon. The latter began to take birth between July and November. But it promises to be rather placid.

On the other hand, the number and intensity of storms and tropical cyclones that start in the Atlantic between July and November was particularly important. During this period, fifteen tropical storms developed, instead of ten on average, and eight were concentrated in August alone, which is a record for this period. Six tropical cyclones, with winds blowing at over 300 km / h, crossed the Caribbean region and the southern United States.

During its passage over Haiti, tropical cyclone Jeanne caused floods and landslides that killed three thousand people. In contrast, the tropical storm season in the eastern North Pacific was quieter. Only twelve storms occurred, while an average of more than sixteen are created each year.

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In the middle of this catalog à la Prévert, a good news: the ozone hole which settles every year on Antarctica has been the smallest for ten years. It reached its maximum size (19,6 million km2) at the end of September and disappeared earlier than usual, in mid-November.

More heat, but less excess

According to the latest figures provided by Météo France, 2004 in mainland France is expected to be slightly warmer than normal by around 0,5 ° C. Although no month showed any exceptional anomaly, June and October were however those for which the temperature differences were the most marked, as they were a little warmer than normal by around 1,5 and 1,7, 12,2 degrees. With an average temperature expected to be around 2004 ° C, 2004 will only be the eighth hottest year of the last decade in France. With regard to precipitation, the accumulations recorded are quite close to normal over most of the country: rather in excess in Brittany, Center and Roussillon, and rather in deficit elsewhere, particularly in the South-East. All in all, 2003 looks like a calmer year than the previous one, because it did not experience any meteorological event of the magnitude of the heatwave and drought observed in XNUMX.

Christiane Galus, Source: The World

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