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Visual presentation showing consistent march towards higher global temperatures; click for more informationAs a top German scientist warns that climate change is accelerating, while 2008 ends up being the tenth warmest year ever recorded and a NOAA study shows climate change is "largely irreversible for 1000 years" we hear news about severe heatwaves and droughts in Argentina, Australia and USA.

Australians are currently facing a severe heatwave with temperatures of 40-plus Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the southern parts of the country, making it the worst heatwave in 100 years. And the Australian government says it's a sign of climate change.

"Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the heatwave, which started on Wednesday, was the sort of weather scientists had been warning about.

"Eleven of the hottest years in history have been in the last 12, and we also note, particularly in the southern part of Australia, we're seeing less rainfall," Wong told reporters.

"All of this is consistent with climate change, and all of this is consistent with what scientists told us would happen.""

In Argentina the people are currently facing a year long drought that has killed an estimated one million animals and destroyed thousands of acres of valuable crops.

"Skeletons of livestock are piling up in the scorching sun of the Southern Hemisphere's summer as the worst drought in a generation turns much of Argentina's breadbasket into a dust bowl.

The nation's farm sector stands to lose $5 billion this year alone — a huge blow to the economy of Argentina, a top world exporter of soy, corn, wheat and beef — as well as to the government of President Cristina Fernandez, which faces billions of dollars in debt payments this year.

Wheat fields that once supplied flour for pasta-loving Argentines now resemble deserts, and spiny thistles are all that survive on cattle ranches in southern Buenos Aires province."

Lake Hume, California (photo credit in California, USA, a new study has showed that the state is facing one of the worst droughts in its history as the winter snow levels is only at 61% of normal levels.

"The state, which produces about half the United States' vegetables and fruit, is in its third year of drought and its main system supplying water to cities and farms may only be able to fulfill 15 percent of requests, scientists said.

The snowpack on California's mountains is carrying only 61 percent of the water of normal years, according to the survey by the state Department of Water Resources. Last year the snowpack held 111 percent of the normal amount of water, but spring was the driest ever recorded.

"California is headed toward one of the worst water crises in its history, underscoring the need to upgrade our water infrastructure by increasing water storage, improving conveyance, protecting the (Sacramento) Delta's ecosystem and promoting greater water conservation," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

"We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history," added Water Resources Director Lester Snow in a separate statement."

See original news item:, Jan-31-2009  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Feb-1-2009)   Web site
This winter has been colder than the last five or ten years, but when I was a child, here in NYC as well, the temperature was below zero F (about -18C) at least once each year. That is great rarity now. Despite relatively chilly weather this year, it is not comparable to the winters of 40 years ago.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Feb-1-2009)   Web site

That graph is certainly telling. And, much as I hate to say it, a severe drought in California is just what many Americans need to make them sit up and take notice. I fear there is worse to come in India and Bangladesh as Himalayan glaciers retreat, causing a much larger disaster; but India is a long way away.

While Australia suffers a heatwave of 43 degrees C, killing people and stressing power-hungry air conditioning units, people in the UK and parts of the US are finding the winter colder than normal. This gives a field day to climate change doubters who, following media reports rather than scientific ones, ask 'what's this about global warming?' Scientists have long said that we are in for a rise in average temperatures, but with more extreme weather and different parts of the world affected in different ways. Unfortunately, they are being proved right.

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