The world’s air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn’t quite a surprise, because it’s been rising at an accelerating pace.
A massive wildfire in the New Mexico wilderness that already is the largest in state history spread in all directions Thursday, and experts say it’s likely a preview of things to come as states across the West contend with a dangerous recipe of wind, low humidity and tinder-dry fuels.
This week saw even more deleterious wildfires, mainly in Nevada and New Mexico. Meanwhile, one person is dead after a wildfire in Texas. Besides being the largest New Mexico has ever seen, the fire has scorched more than 170,000 acres. The massive blaze is attributed to drought conditions, and two separate fires merging. A Michigan conflagration has left about 100 gutted structures in its wake, nearly 36 of those houses. Several states are also still dealing with droughts, and the Amazon is experiencing record drought, which has the potential of accelerating global warming. Additionally, as it has already done, it has the potential to spark conflict as people scramble to find enough water for themselves and their animals.
While the western and southwestern states battle intense blazes, most of the states is gripped by a massive heat wave, with temperatures in the United States as high as 95ºF (35ºC). Temperatures in Indianapolis, Indiana were so high, that 700 spectators of the popular car race the Indy 500 had to be treated for heat related injuries. The UK is also in the grips of a heat wave. One wonders with the onslaught of heat waves we have been facing how solid the ice on Greenland is. If that ice melts too fast, it could slow down the Gulf Stream. Watch for a special report on that within the week.
In other news, there was a tornado in Serbia this week. Unlike their North American counterparts, such storms are very rare in Serbia.
A tourist has captured some rare and startling video of an iceberg tipping over. The tourist was traveling on a boat near the Upsala Glacier in Argentina and caught the unexpected moment… The Upsala Glacier has been melting for a number of years and is often cited as evidence of global climate change. The BBC reports that the glacier, once the largest in South America, has been retreating at a rate of about 600 feet a year.
The last week in Serbia saw the temperatures return to their usual values for this time of the year – around 20 °C (68 °F) in most places. At the same time, the amount of precipitation exceeded the season average. Rain was recorded on every day of the week, with western parts of the country most severely hit with downpours.
On Thursday, Serbian capital of Belgrade was struck with a landspout, a weaker form of tornado. Although almost insignificant compared to the tornados seen in North America, such storm is very rare in these areas. “The photo [we were shown] does show a landspout – this is a form of tornado, but it is weaker and affects a smaller area. It occurred as a part of a supercell moving above Belgrade towards the west”, said Ms. Aleksandra Arsić, a meteorologist in Serbian Meteorological Office. The accompanying storm that hit Belgrade caused heavy traffic jams, with many streets flooded and gridlocks formed on major roads.
The last time a tornado occurred in Serbia was in May 2010, in northern part of the country.