Newsletter Issue 28 (February 2023)

The Weather of January 2023 – a warmer January with cold interludes

With the northeast monsoon over Guangdong generally weaker than normal for most of the time in the month, despite a few cold interludes, January 2023 was overall warmer than usual in Hong Kong. The monthly mean temperature was 17.0 degrees, 0.5 degrees above the normal of 16.5 degrees. The month was also drier than usual. The monthly total rainfall was 18.2 millimetres, about 45 percent below the normal figure.

Sea ice extent was lowest on record in January 2023

Sea ice extent for the Antarctic was the lowest on record for January, and for the Arctic the third lowest, according to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service and the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). “Combined, the two hemispheres set a record low for total global sea ice extent, yet this does not signify a trend necessarily and may be caused by weather-related variability,” said NSIDC. Sea ice extent is one of the climate indicators used by WMO in its State of the Global Climate reports.

Cyclone Gabrielle: Thousands left without power in New Zealand

Residents across the north of New Zealand are bracing for a rough night as Cyclone Gabrielle lashes the country with torrential rains and winds. At least 46,000 homes have lost power in the storm, while hundreds of flights have been cancelled. A state of emergency has been declared in nine regions – affecting nearly a third of the 5.1 million population.

Climate change is contributing to the rise of superbugs, new UN report says

The new report, titled “Bracing for Superbugs” from the United Nations Environment Programme highlights the role of climate change and other environmental factors contributing to the rise of antimicrobial resistance. Research has shown that increased temperatures increase both the rate of bacterial growth and the rate of the spread of antibiotic-resistant genes between microorganisms.

Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure takes shape

WMO is hosting an international symposium on a proposed Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure to inform action to reduce levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere which are fuelling temperature increase. Sustained, coordinated global monitoring of greenhouse gas concentrations and fluxes is vital to help us understand and tackle the drivers of climate change and to support implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology considering change to El Niño and La Niña definitions

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is in discussions with international atmospheric agencies to overhaul how La Niña and El Niño are defined, potentially rewriting the record books of global weather history. The potential revamp of the world’s most dominant driver of weather variability follows a year of occasional confusion when meteorological agencies released contradictory declarations on the state of the Pacific Ocean.

Millions face threat of flooding from glacial lakes

Up to 15 million people face risk of catastrophic flooding from glacial lakes which could burst their natural dams at any moment, a new study finds. The study led by Newcastle University is the first global attempt to map potential hotspots for such floods. Dr Harrison, a leading expert on the impact of climate change on glacial lakes at the University of Exeter, added that the research was only a first step towards better understanding of the impact of climate change on what are known as glacial lake outburst floods.

A Bold Plan to Beam Solar Energy Down From Space

The European Space Agency recently announced a new exploratory program called Solaris, which aims to figure out if it is technologically and economically feasible to launch solar structures into orbit, use them to harness the sun’s power, and transmit energy to the ground. If this concept comes to fruition, by sometime in the 2030s Solaris could begin providing always-on space-based solar power. Eventually, it could make up 10 to 15 percent of Europe’s energy use, playing a role in the European Union’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Farewell radiators? Testing out electric infrared wallpaper

Thin, metallic sheets are hidden behind the plaster of the walls, which are connected to the mains electricity of his house. These sheets emit heat by infrared waves which warm up solid objects in the room directly, including us humans. The wallpaper system that is using was made by a firm called iHelios. As well as being available for private installation, the company is currently trialling the technology with landlords that provide social housing in Hull, and also housing groups in Wales. These organisations want to save money and meet green targets.



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