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Fierce Winter Storms Lash the World

The US Midwest is being pounded by yet another severe winterstorm, China is in chaos due to the worst snow in at leastfifty years, and this winter has seen snow as far south asBaghdad, and it is snowing today in Jordan. A phenomenal twohundred million people are stranded in China, and there isrioting in train stations. At least thirty million are knownto be without power, and the snows are expected to returnover the next few days. Meanwhile, a gigantic storm coveredthe center of the American continent from northern Texas tosouthern Canada. And the problems being experiencedworldwide are far from over.

A state of emergency was declared in northern Ohio, due tocollapsing roofs and motorists stranded on roads. CentralChina suffered shortages of coal essential for power in oneof the worlds most important industrial areas, and foodprices across China shot up due to supply problems caused bydisrupted transportation. Transportation problems alsoaffected Jordan, where officials were completely unpreparedfor snow. In China, the cost of damage from the storm isexpected to exceed 4 billion dollars.

Stormy weather extended to Europe, as the band of lowpressure that caused last week's storms in the US reachedIreland and England. Conditions in the Irish Sea last nightwere described by officials as "horrific," and passengersand crews had to be rescued from distressed ferries and ships.

Last summer saw the most extensive arctic melt everrecorded, as billions of gallons of fresh water from meltingpolar ice flooded the North Atlantic. The danger of suddenclimate change resulting from exactly this phenomenon is thecenterpiece of Whitley Strieber and Art Bell's bookSuperstorm and the film based on it, the Day After Tomorrow.The idea that a freshwater flood in northern seas mightcause dramatic climate change was first put forward inthe Key, andhas now been confirmed by evidence of past such events. Whenthe Gulf Stream stopped 8,000 years ago, due to a flood offresh water from a collapsed ice dam in the arctic, therewas extraordinary and rapid climate change. At present,there are no current measurements of the state of oceancirculation, but one possibility that would explain2007-2008's extremely harsh winter is that ocean currentshave been weakened by last summers extreme arctic melt.

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