It's official: the weather bureau has announced that this is the hottest summer ever in the US. At least 40 people have died from the heat in Phoenix, but places that are usually much cooler in the summer, such as upstate New York, are experiencing an incredible heat wave as well. As those of you familiar with global warming know, the world doesn't just get hotter, weather patterns get more extreme. This accounts for the incredibly unusual phenomenon of a tornado in the UK.
According to Newsday, this is the hottest summer ever recorded in the Northeast, according to data compiled by Cornell University. The average temperature for New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut has been almost 70 degrees F, which is almost 6 degrees above normal for this time of year. However, 70 degrees would seem cool to the suffering folks in Phoenix which despite global warming and a shortage of water, is one of the fastest-growing states in the US.
Global warming has made hurricanes 50% more destructive than they used to be. MIT Meteorologist Kerry A. Emanuel has looked at data from the last 50 years and discovered that both the duration and wind speeds of these lethal storms have increased by 50%.
Hurricanes form over the ocean in the tropics when heat released from evaporating water falls back to Earth as rain. Global warming has increased the surface temperature of the oceans, meaning that there is more evaporation. Emanuel says that the only possible cause for this increase could be global warming, although he doesn't think this has increased the frequency of the storms. Hurricane season runs from June to November, so the season has barely started. NOAA has predicted that there will be between 7 and 9 hurricanes in 2005.
Wacky weather continues with a tornado in a place where they are almost unknown: the UK. The BBC reports that anarea on the periphery of the city of Birmingham was badly damaged by a twister. Twenty people were injured by the storm, which had winds that reached 130 mph. Trees were uprooted, cars were borne away by the wind, and roofs were blown off houses. While this is a regular seasonal occurrence in the Southwest US, the UK is almost completely unprepared for this type of storm.
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