Newsletter Issue 16 (February 2022)

The Weather of January 2022 – An unseasonably warm and dry January

With the northeast monsoon over the south China coast generally weaker than normal for most of the time in January 2022, the monthly mean minimum temperature and monthly mean temperature were 1.9 degrees and 1.5 degrees above their corresponding normals. The month was also drier than usual with a total rainfall of 4.1 millimetres, about 12 percent of the normal of 33.2 millimetres.

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai hits Madagascar

Batsirai made landfall in Madagascar on 5 February, bringing devastating winds, rainfall and flooding to the Indian Ocean nation which is still struggling with the aftermath of a previous tropical storm, Ana. According to preliminary figures, the casualty toll was lower than from tropical storm Ana. The relatively limited death toll from Batsirai – a much more powerful storm – was testimony to the importance of early warning and coordinated early action.

Storm Ana’s devastation in southern Africa highlights need for early warnings

More than 80 people died and hundreds of thousands displaced as the storm Ana swept through Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi, with the forecast not reaching some communities in time to evacuate. People in disconnected regions, without access to a radio or Whatsapp, were left in the dark. It has highlighted the need for investment in early warning systems and anticipatory action, as well as finance to help disaster-struck communities recover and rebuild.

World record lightning bolt ‘as long as London to Hamburg’ distance

A lightning bolt in the southern United States that spread 768 kilometres across the sky has broken the record for the longest single flash, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said. It spread from Mississippi and Louisiana to Texas on 29 April 2020, covering a distance equivalent to between London and Hamburg, the UN weather agency added. (More)

Climate change: Future of Winter Olympics and snow sports on thin ice, report warns

Climate change is threatening the future of the Winter Olympics and snow sports by eroding the season and forcing more dangerous, artificial conditions, experts have warned in a report. “The risk is clear: manmade warming is threatening the long-term future of winter sports.” It added that global heating is also “reducing the number of climatically suitable host venues for the Winter Olympiad”.

中國氣象局部署氣候監測預測業務建設 持續推進研究型氣候業務發展


Climate change: Key crops face major shifts as world warms

The parts of the world suitable for growing coffee, cashews and avocados will change dramatically as the world heats up, according to a new study. Key coffee regions in Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and Colombia will all “drastically decrease” by around 50% by 2050. Suitable areas for cashews and avocados will increase but most will be far from current sites of production. The authors say that greater efforts must be made to help farmers adapt.

Ripple effect: What the Tonga eruption could mean for tsunami research

An eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in the South Pacific Ocean on January 15 created a rare event never before detected with modern instruments. A powerful tsunami raced forward, leaving an untold number of lives hanging in the balance. Notably, only 5% of tsunamis are triggered by volcanic activity — and this one was massive. The waves were measured thousands of miles away, as far as the Caribbean.

A giant donut-shaped machine just proved a near-limitless clean power source is possible

There’s no silver bullet to the climate crisis, but nuclear fusion may be the closest thing to it. In the quest for a near-limitless, zero-carbon source of reliable power, scientists have generated fusion energy before, but they have struggled for decades to sustain it for very long. Scientists working in the United Kingdom announced that they more than doubled the previous record for generating and sustaining nuclear fusion, which is the same process that allows the sun and stars to shine so brightly.

SpaceX will lose up to 40 satellites it just launched due to a solar storm

Up to 40 of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are expected to fall out of orbit thanks to some inopportune timing: The company launched the satellites directly into a solar storm. The energized particles from the storm can heat up the upper atmosphere, causing it to thicken. In this case, the storm impacted the area of orbit where SpaceX’s newest Starlink satellites were deployed, and it made the atmosphere dense enough that the satellites weren’t able to maneuver their way up to their intended orbit.

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