Monday, 24 February 2014

car, ice, cold
The ECDC have just released a “Public Health Development” entitled “Planning Assumptions for the First Wave of Pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 in Europe”. Read ithere (with full references). This paper seems to have been prompted by Norway and the UK re-assessing the assumptions they are using in their pandemic planning. The paper starts this way:
As it is summer in Europe the 2009 pandemic has yet to really accelerate in EU countries but the experience in temperate Southern Hemisphere countries suggests it is inevitable that Europe will be affected by a major first A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic wave in the autumn and winter.  The 2009 pandemic is less severe than might have been expected and ECDC has been made aware by two European Union countries (Norway and the UK) of the updating they have made of their planning assumptions specifically for a first wave of an A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic.
This has been a highly unusual northern hemisphere winter; extremely cold and snowy in some regions, stormy in others - yet Canada had its warmest winter on record, parts of the the Arctic and tropical sea temperatures were unusually warm.

According to records going back to 1950, this winter saw one of the strongest El Nino events, combined with the most negative Arctic Oscillation (and also with a negative North Atlantic Oscillation) yet seen during a winter.

scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have selected 262 European observatories which analysed the series of minimum and maximum daily temperatures from 1955 to 1998 to estimate trend variations in extreme temperature events. According to the study, in Europe days of extreme cold are decreasing and days of extreme heat increasing. From 0.5ºC to 1ºC in the average minimum temperature, and from 0.5ºC to 2ºC in the average maximum temperature..

Scientists have established a link between the cold, snowy winters in Britain and melting sea ice in the Arctic and have warned that long periods of freezing weather are likely to become more frequent in years to come.
An analysis of the ice-free regions of the Arctic Ocean has found that the higher temperatures there caused by global warming, which have melted the sea ice in the summer months, have paradoxically increased the chances of colder winters in Britain and the rest of northern Europe.


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