World Meteorological Organization: Extreme Weather is Increasing

August 15, 2007

People throughout the United States that are dealing with heat waves and hurricanes may take some slight comfort in the fact that they are not alone. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the weather and climate in many parts of the world have reached record extremes this year. Global land surface temperatures hit records in January and April, while extremely heavy precipitation caused severe flooding in many parts of the world. Cyclone Gonu formed in June as the first documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea, making landfall in Oman and Iran. England suffered extremely heavy rainfall in June, causing flooding in both England and Wales. In July and August, stronger-than-normal monsoons caused flooding in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Other parts of the world are suffering through heat waves, as well. Two extreme heat waves affected south-eastern Europe in June and July, breaking the previous records with temperatures exceeding 104°F. On July 23rd, temperatures in Bulgaria hit 113°F, setting a new record. The WMO notes that the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted an increasing trend in extreme events observed during the last 50 years and projected it to be very likely that hot extremes, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent. See the WMO press release.

While heat is the issue for much of the United States, Hurricane Flossie was expected to brush by Hawaii's Big Island on Tuesday night, August 14th, skirting the rest of the island chain on August 15th and 16th. In the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Dean is heading for the Dominican Republic and is expected to reach hurricane intensity by August 17th. See the forecasts from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and the National Hurricane Center.