World weather news, May 2013
- Worldwide levels of the chief greenhouse gas that causes global warming have hit a milestone, reaching an amount never before encountered by humans, federal scientists said Friday. Carbon dioxide was measured at 400 parts per million at the oldest monitoring station, which is in Hawaii, and that sets the global benchmark. The last time the worldwide carbon level was probably that high was about 2 million years ago, said Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Snow has fallen in parts of Devon in what has been described as "fairly unusual" weather for May. Winds of up to 65mph also struck the South West coast overnight with a number of trees coming down, some blocking roads. Western Power Distribution said homes in Cornwall were still without power after thousands were cut off overnight. Two inches of snow also fell in Shropshire and people were warned to prepare for flooding. The Met Office said the snow which fell in Devon was "a transient feature". The last really widespread snowfall in May was 17 May 1955 when much of England and Wales was affected by several hours of snow. Devon also saw significant snow on 17 May 1935.
- Forecasters say the tornado that claimed six lives and destroyed dozens of homes in North Texas is believed to have had winds up to 200 mph. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the preliminary storm estimate for the tornado in Granbury was an EF-4, based on the Fujita tornado damage scale. That means the storm carried wind speeds of 166 mph to 200 mph. The NWS believes 10 tornadoes raked North Texas in a violent system, including the one in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Other tornadoes damaged nearby Cleburne and Millsap.
- The North Pole’s surprise trip toward Greenland is due to Earth's rapidly melting ice sheets, a new study finds. The distribution of mass across the planet determines the position of Earth's poles. Because Earth is a bit egg-shaped, the North Pole is always slightly off-center. It's also been slowly drifting south, responding to long-term changes since the last Ice Age, as the enormous ice sheets that once covered large swaths of the planet melted and parts of the Earth rebounded from the lost weight. But in 2005, the pole suddenly started making a beeline east for Greenland, moving a few centimeters eastward each year. The cause? Rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, finds a study published May 13 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Ice loss and the associated sea-level rise account for more than 90 percent of the polar shift, Nature News reported.
- A tropical storm has lashed coastal areas of Bangladesh, killing 12 people, destroying thousands of huts and forcing up to a million people to flee. Officials had prepared for a cyclone, but the storm, called Mahasen, weakened considerably before making landfall. The storm hit Patuakhali district with heavy rain and wind of up to 100 km/h. The United Nations had warned that 8.2 million people were at risk from Mahasen in Bangladesh, Burma and north-east India. The Bangladeshi government said it had evacuated 956,672 people from coastal areas to more than 3,200 cyclone shelters.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 16 May 2013.