Photos taken within last 24 hours
ABC News reports in "Japan Snowstorm Kills 52, Crushes Steel Bridge"
Heavy snowfall has crippled much of Japan’s western coast, killing more than 50 people and injuring nearly 600. The worst snowstorm in six years has dumped more than 10 feet of snow in the hardest-hit regions, causing at least one bridge to collapse and forcing school closures across the region.
Western Japan has been battered by one snowstorm after another since the beginning of the year, overwhelming cash-strapped cities struggling to keep up with cleanup efforts. In the Niigata Prefecture, officials said nearly half of their 30 cities had run out of funds set aside snow removal. Further north in the Aomori Prefecture, the government had already applied for additional funds from Tokyo, after draining its budget.
The important point to note is that this fierce winter storm is not just limited to Japan. It is stretching across all of Asia, China, Korea and Eastern Europe.
In the Ukraine, the cold was 33 degrees centigrade below zero (-27.4 F) the coldest it's been in six years. More than 40 people have died there along with Eastern Europe and the cold weather strikes. In Ukraine, which killed more than 40 people. In Poland, at least 20 are dead; in Rumania 14 have died and there are 8 dead in Bulgaria as well as deaths reported in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina. At least 80 people have died and authorities in Europe, as well as Japan, expect more cold and snow in the coming days.
That huge snowstorms hit all across the world in wintertime should not be a surprise nor even newsworthy. But this coming just after the snowstorms in the USA and now today's storm in East Europe and Asia, should cause those of us who can remember what we were told more than ten years ago to scoff.To refresh your memory, let us not forget the Monday March 20, 2000 article that ran in the Independent UK that was entitled: Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past:
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.
Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community.
Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties. (emphasis mine)
However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. (again emphasis mine) According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
Oh really? Interestingly enough, just two days ago, without much fanfare, the the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia released information that showed no global warming in 15 years. Some people will claim "cherry picking results" but I wonder how measuring the nineties (ten years) versus the last 15 years wouldn't also be considered said "Cherry picking"?
Intelligent people on either side of the argument (believers and disbelievers) should like to have an answer to that question, I would imagine.