A deluge of rain has inundated parts of western Germany and Belgium over the past week, caused by a slow-moving low pressure system that led to catastrophic flooding. Several rainfall records were smashed, including Mannheim in south-west Germany, which usually receives 70mm (2.7in) in an average July, but recorded more than 150mm of rain in 24 hours, most of which fell in about 12 hours.

In the southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s South Island has also been reeling in the aftermath of heavy rains. More than 800mm fell in the southern Alps in just a few days, owing to a tropical low in the Indian Ocean, which caused alpine rivers to swell and burst their banks.

The highest temperature ever reliably recorded anywhere on Earth was broken on 9 July, with a staggering reading of 54.4C (130F) in Death Valley. This was followed by the hottest night in North American history, with a minimum temperature of 42C. While Death Valley is no stranger to intense heat, it is not alone in experiencing these unprecedented conditions. After the hottest June on record in the US, Canada also broke its all-time temperature record as the month came to a close, with 49.6C, shattering the highest temperature ever recorded north of 50N latitude.



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