2012 Declared ‘Warmest Year by a Wide Margin’

21 January, 2013 at 18:20 | Posted in Environmental issues, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff

The average temperature in 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit—3.2 degrees hotter than the 20th-century average and 1 degree above the previous record set in 1998, the NOAA said in a report Tuesday.

Overall, last year’s spring was the warmest on record, winter was the fourth warmest, summer was the second warmest, and fall was warmer than average, the report said.

“An estimated 99.1 million people—nearly one-third of the nation’s population—experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to the NOAA. “Every state in the contiguous United States had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. Nineteen states had a record-warm year, and an additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.”

Throughout fall and December, the temperatures were warmer than average but were not as hot as the previous three seasons, said the report.

“Although the last four months of 2012 did not bring the same unusual warmth as the first 8 months of the year, the September through December temperatures were warm enough for 2012 to remain the United States’ record-warmest year by a wide margin,” the NOAA said.

Furthermore, the winter snowfall in the 48 lower states was the third smallest on record. Meanwhile, snowpack across the Southern and Central Rocky Mountains was less than half of normal levels.

“In combination with the lack of winter snow and lingering dryness from 2011, the record-warm spring laid the foundation for the great drought of 2012,” the agency said.

Last year was the 15th driest on record. The average precipitation total for the contiguous United States was 26.57 inches—2.57 inches below average.

The report added that last year was the second worst for “extreme” weather patterns including hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and floods, although tornado activity was less than usual. At one point last year, the drought affected more than 60 percent of the country, and it will likely lead to higher food prices in the United States and around the world in 2013.

“To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include [storms] Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley,” the NOAA said.

The NOAA’s findings will likely spark further debate about whether or not climate change was responsible for the spike in temperatures.

“These records do not occur like this in an unchanging climate,” Kevin Trenberth, who heads climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., told The Associated Press. “And they are costing many billions of dollars.”

via 2012 Declared ‘Warmest Year by a Wide Margin’ | National News | United States | Epoch Times

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Englishman Speaks Fluent Welsh After Stroke

21 January, 2013 at 17:58 | Posted in Body & Mind, Funny things :-) | Leave a comment
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By Belinda McCallum
Epoch Times Staff

A retired Englishman woke up speaking Welsh and had to learn to speak English again after he suffered a severe stroke and was unconscious for three weeks.

Alun Morgan, 81, lives in Somerset, but spent some time in Wales 70 years ago as a child when he was evacuated there during World War II. Although he never learned to speak Welsh, he was among Welsh speakers until he was 10. One explanation is that he picked up the language without realizing, and this ability was unlocked during the stroke.

“It was an amazing experience because I discovered after two or three days, when I was becoming a bit compus mentus, that I was speaking totally Welsh, and only my wife could understand me,” Morgan said during an interview with The Telegraph.

Gradually his English came back, but Morgan said it was not easy.

“Having learned that I was only speaking Welsh, I had to find a way of learning English, so very early on I got myself a good Welsh dictionary, which I kept looking at every now and again to make sure that the words I was using were correct.”

Morgan has been diagnosed with a type of brain damage called aphasia, which affects the brain areas that coordinate language. Other people have had similar conditions and ended up with Foreign Accent Syndrome, which changes how they speak and form words.

Chris Clark, Stroke Association’s UK Director of Life After Stroke Services, told The Telegraph that aphasia can limit people’s communication abilities.

“Stroke can have a big affect on individuals and lead to personality and physical changes,” he said.

“With a stroke, blood supply to the brain is cut off and in the areas starved of oxygen, brain cells die and damage can be caused.”

via Englishman Speaks Fluent Welsh After Stroke | Beyond Science | Science | Epoch Times

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