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Freezing in Silence
While all the press is about the Cold wave in US, there is a cold wave sweeping vast portions of Asia.
I had written an article about the cold spell in the US in December. I had not shared it at the time because China had a huge Covid flare-up. I had to make a choice and I released the COVID article by mail while releasing this one silently.
Similarly, the Gulf Stream which is the predominant current in the Atlantic is getting more aggressive. Usually, the water that heats up in around the Caribbean travels all the way to England. Loses its energy and turns down to go back to the equator.
As you can see from the image above, the Gulf Stream is extending all the way up to Svalbard, an island group close to Norway, considered one of the best places on Earth to watch the Northern Lights. Svalbard is normally under snow in summer. Now, it just about freezes in winter.
The Gulf Stream is displacing the cold air of the arctic which is descending down North America and Siberia. Siberia is always been known as a frozen wasteland so nobody is reporting about the weather there. But in the meantime, North America is under many feet of snow.
That Siberian branch which I mentioned has pushed all the way down to China, Japan and even Afghanistan. North India has been under a cold spell unlike any that they have seen in recent years. Delhi went down to 1 degree Celsius!
The minimum temperature in the capital, Delhi, dropped to 1.4C early on Monday as parts of northern India were hit by a cold spell.
The weather department has warned that cold wave conditions are likely to continue over the next two days.
Delhi saw a cold snap just days ago when the minimum temperature dipped to 1.9C.
India's weather department declares a cold wave when the temperature drops below 4C.
On Monday, Delhi experienced its coldest day of the season, with temperatures plummeting below 2C in several parts of the city.
Countries across Northeast Asia are battling freezing weather with temperatures falling to their lowest in at least a decade and snowfall hampering travel.
On Thursday, the South Korean capital, Seoul, issued a “cold wave” warning – when temperatures are below minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) for two consecutive days.
Source: Al Jazeera
In Japan, heavy snow continued on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, where hundreds of trains were suspended and a number of flights grounded Thursday. In Shinshinotsu village in southwestern Hokkaido, a pedestrian died after being blown into a ditch, according to the prefecture.
In Japan’s central and western regions, transportation officials were preparing to reopen sections of an expressway after huge parts of it came to a standstill amid heavy storms that affected the country through Wednesday, leaving some cars stranded for more than a day.
Mohe, China’s northernmost city, on Sunday saw temperatures drop to minus 53 degrees Celsius (minus 63.4 degrees Fahrenheit) – its coldest ever recorded, meteorologists said. Ice fog – a weather phenomenon that occurs only in extreme cold when water droplets in air remain in liquid form – is also expected in the city this week, local authorities said.
Other parts of Asia also felt the impacts of harsh cold weather.
Earlier this month in Russian Siberia, temperatures in the city of Yakutsk stood at minus 62.7 degrees Celsius (minus 80.9 degrees Fahrenheit) – a record for a place widely known as the world’s coldest city.
More than 160 people have died from the cold in Afghanistan this month in the worst winter in more than a decade, authorities said on Thursday, as residents described being unable to afford fuel to heat homes in temperatures well below freezing.
"162 people have died due to cold weather since January 10 until now," said Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesperson for the Minister of Disaster Management. About 84 of the deaths had taken place in the last week.
The coldest winter in 15 years, which has seen temperatures dip as low as -34 degrees Celsius (-29.2 degrees Fahrenheit), has hit Afghanistan in the middle of a severe economic crisis.
The deadly spell of cold wave continues in Afghanistan as over 200,000 livestock have died in the country apart from loss of human lives in the last two weeks, Afghan news agency TOLOnews reported.
Many of the animals that died were in the northern provinces of Balkh, Jawzjan, and Panjshir, according to the Taliban-led Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock.
Source: The Print
It is interesting to note as the affluence of the nation comes down, the death rates go up. This is a great illustration of how the poor end up paying for the climate excesses of the rich.
A new global analysis published in the journal Circulation, found that being exposed to heatwaves or extremely cold weather accounted for additional cardiovascular disease deaths which occurred in 567 cities in 27 countries from 1979 to 2019. The researchers further observed that people with heart failure were vulnerable to high temperatures as they were at a 12% higher risk of a sudden death during heatwaves as compared to days with mild weather. Whereas exceedingly cold weather put them at a 37% higher risk of dying.
People living in poorer nations are most likely to be exposed to these fluctuations in temperature. Not just the homeless but also people whose work requires them to be outside such as even farmers. Also when the weather takes a turn towards extremes people may not really be prepared in terms of clothing to deal with such weather.
In the meantime in China, which as I mentioned earlier is in the midst of one of the swiftest covid waves is also facing a gas shortage
The shortage of natural gas and the cold wave in China are making the winter chillier and unbearable for the residents, The New York Times reported.
The acute shortage of natural gas has worked as fuel to the Chinese who are already angry with the government because of the pandemic. These reactions spilt over into caustic complaints on social media.
On social media platforms, a video goes viral in China where the temperature was seen rising in an apartment building in a different northern province, Shanxi, with the windows plastered with bright red posters of the sort often seen at Lunar New Year -- except that these posters say "cold."
In the meantime, Europe had one of the warmest winters and they burnt more fossil fuel to produce snow for their ski slopes.
Such are the priorities of the world we live in!