Climate scientists are saying 2014 is on track to be the hottest year on record. But tell that to people living in Japan and India who are suffering through heavy snowfall now hammering communities.
India’s famed tourist destination Kullu-Manali has seen heavy snowfall that has disrupted the area’s electricity, telecommunications lines and transportation. According to the Indian Express, Kullu-Manali has seen “roads blocked by snow and fallen trees/electricity poles and hoteliers facing huge cancellations ahead of the Christmas and New Year eve rush.”
All this from the area’s first snowfall of the year. But for six days the tourist towns had no power supply and thousands of visitors were forced to cancel their stay this holiday season. Some 6,000 tourists were stuck in Manali last weekend, suffering through two feet of snow and subzero temperatures on Sunday night.
But that’s a small price to pay compared to some Japanese towns that got around six feet of snow last week, according to news reports. As of Friday, 11 people had died in traffic accidents or weather-related deaths during the record snowfall, according to Arirang News.
“Japan’s weather agency had advised residents against venturing outdoors as the snowstorm shuttered schools and public transportation and grounded hundreds of flights,” Arirang News reported.
In the Niigata Prefecture, the town of Tsunan saw about six feet, eight inches of snow. The town of Nagano Nozawaonsen got about six feet of snow and Gunma Minakami got about five feet, seven inches of snow last week.
Last month, U.S. cities and town across the Midwest and Northeast got hit with record low temperatures and record levels of snowfall.
Record snowfall around Buffalo, N.Y. killed 14 people last month as more than six feet of snow buried some communities. The snowfall was so thick there were even flood warnings and driving bans imposed to keep people of the roads and safe.
The Weather Channel noted that Caribou, Maine saw its earliest-in-season double-digit snowfall on record at 10.1 inches on Nov. 2. St. Cloud, Minn. saw the highest level of snow for a single day in November at 13.2 inches.
“After Winter Storm Bozeman dumped the heaviest November snowstorm of record in Boise, Idaho (7.6 inches on Nov. 13-14), heavy snow clobbered many of the lake-effect snowbelts, particularly western New York, northern Lower Michigan, and the state’s Upper Peninsula,” the Weather Channel reported.
All this during a year that climate scientists are saying will be the hottest on record based on surface temperature readings.
“The first ten months of 2014 (January–October) were the warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. “2014 is currently on track to be the warmest year on record.”
Satellite records show that 2014 will not be the warmest year on record, but satellites are not used by government weather and climate agencies to make their average global temperature estimates.
Antarctic sea ice coverage also beat scientists expectations this year. South pole sea ice broke 7.7 million square miles of coverage in October for the first time since records began in 1979.
“It’s not expected,” John Turner, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, told The Guardian. “The world’s best 50 models were run and 95% of them have Antarctic sea ice decreasing over the past 30 years.”
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