Tag Archive: Heat

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[notification type=”alert-info” close=”false” ]Heat & Drought / Cold & Winter Storms[/notification]

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Extreme Temperature
Changes in temperature extremes tend to follow mean temperature changes in many parts of the world. IPCC indicate that cold extreme cold extremes warm faster than warm extremes by about 30% – 40% globally averaged (Andreas Strerl et al, 2008). Many areas of society are susceptible to the effects of extreme temperatures. Unusually high summer temperatures raise power demand for air conditioning, increase heat stress on crops, and may create dangerous conditions for human health. Low winter temperatures may cause damaging frosts and freezes, increase heating demands, and may disrupt transportation (Henderson et al, 1997).
Although they happen more slowly and are more difficult to see than a tornado or an earthquake, “heat waves” and “cold snaps” are deadly natural hazards. Extreme heat and cold occur somewhere in the world every year and can afflict nearly every location on Earth. Heat waves are periods of unusually high temperatures, usually lasting three days to three weeks. Typically, heat waves are characterized by temperatures of 35°C (95°F) or higher, although lower temperatures accompanied by high humidity levels can also be considered a heat wave. Cold snaps are commonly three days to three weeks in duration, with temperatures usually falling below -15°C (5°F).
Temperature extremes are most common in the mid-latitude regions, especially near the interior of large continents, such as North America. Here, without the moderating effects of the oceans, winter minimum temperatures can drop below -20°C (-4°F) and above 40°C (104°F) for several weeks. In the mid-latitude regions, temperature extremes are most common June through August, and December through February. In Polar Regions and the higher mid-latitudes, extreme low temperatures can occur anytime between late fall and early spring. In the lower mid-latitudes, extreme high temperatures are common from late spring through early fall. Much like high latitudes, high altitudes are frequently subject to extreme low temperatures. In alpine areas, which are typically above 3500 m (11,500 ft) depending on latitude, extreme low temperatures can occur for nine months or more during a year[1].

1.    Heat Wave

Heat wave or extreme heat is the temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a “dome” of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Excessively dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation[2].
Source: WMO
A basic definition of a heat wave implies that it is an extended period of unusually high atmosphere-related heat stress, which causes temporary modifications in lifestyle and which may have adverse health consequences for the affected population. Thus, although a heat wave is a meteorological event, it cannot be assessed without reference to human impacts[3].
Impacts/damages
People living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than people living in rural regions[4]. Heat wave impacts are widespread. While a large number of deaths may not occur in a single city every year, the cumulative impacts across broad regions over several days to weeks can result in heavy loss of life. Many more hundreds of deaths are associated with excessive heat attributed to heart attack, stroke, and also respiratory stress. Most deaths occur in urban areas where concrete, asphalt, and physical structures raise temperatures in urban heat islands, and nighttime temperatures remain above average. Heat waves also impact farming and ranching through loss of cattle and other livestock. Below are several impacts caused by heat waves[5]:
  1. Illnesses caused by exposure to high temperatures include heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and death.
  2. Population at increased risk especially older and younger people, risk of dehydration, low fitness/excessive exertion, etc.
  3. Another reason of death during heat wave is because of living alone. Studies designed to investigate why some people died during the 1995 and 1999 heat waves in Chicago found that the strongest risk factor was living alone, particularly for those who did not leave home daily.
Learn also about the impacts of the heat wave during the summer 2003 in Europe and the social impacts of heat waves in England.
Emergency Action
What you should do if the weather is extremely hot[6]:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
Learn also the emergency response on extreme heat in CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or learn through community response.
Mitigation
Learn about heat wave mitigation using GIS and an action from National Disaster Education Coalition (NDEC).

2.    Cold Wave


A cold wave is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by marked cooling of the air, or the invasion of very cold air, over a large area. It can also be prolonged period of excessively cold weather, which may be accompanied by high winds that cause excessive wind chills, leading to weather that seems even colder than it is. Cold waves can be preceded or accompanied by significant winter weather events, such as blizzards or ice storms. Other names of a cold wave include cold snap and deep freeze[7].
Impacts/damages
Some impacts of cold wave[8]:
  • Sudden cold waves can have detrimental effects on human beings. A cold wave that is unexpected can cause frost bites, hypothermia or other serious medical aliments.
  • A lot of damage is caused to animals and wildlife. When a cold wave comes along with heavy and incessant snowfall, animals may not be able to graze and thus die out of starvation. In order to feed livestock, farmers have to pay high prices for buying their food.
  • There can be cases of damage when water pipelines freeze and burst.
  • There is a rise in the demand for fuels and electricity.
See also the effects of cold wave on agricultural in India from 2002-2003 and also news about the effects of cold wave in Peru.
Emergency Action
Emergency response guidelines on cold wave[9]:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Listen to the radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by temporarily closing off heat to some rooms.
  • Eat to supply heat to the body and drink non-alcoholic beverages to avoid dehydration.
  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight; warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Carry a “basic vehicle emergency kit” in the trunk of your vehicle.
Mitigation
Extreme temperatures cannot be forecasted on a long-term basis and cannot be directly mitigated. They can however be managed by proper disaster plans that regulate authorities and emergency facilities in case of a heat or cold wave[10].
International weather forecasts are the main source of information. For this purpose, consult for example:
Regional and National weather service give more precise forecasts and weather information. Below are some examples:
Above info4mation is from our friends at the UN

 

Special Features

NOAA

HEAT
NOAA Climate Prediction Center Excessive Heat
Wind Chill and Heat Index

 

WIND CHILL

Tables of Wind Chill and Heat Index

 

WINTER STORMS

FEMA Winter Storms Factsheet

FEMA Winter Storm Update Center
NOAA News Online

 

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info4 Wildfires Quick Links

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Western Wildfires, 2012

Western Wildfires, US 2012

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[notice]Wildfires[/notice]

 

.. What is a wildfire? A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted wildland fire including unauthorized human-caused fires1. Vegetation fires are caused by slash and burn land clearing, clearing of plantations following logging operations, and by natural events such as lightning or extreme drought. During dry seasons fires usually reach a peak and can present a transboundary problem when prevailing winds disperse the smoke across borders to other countries2. .. Characteristics/Measurements: There are three different classes of wildland fires. A surface fire is the most common type and burns along the floor of a forest, moving slowly and killing or damaging trees. A ground fire is usually started by lightning and burns on or below the forest floor. Crown fires spread rapidly by wind and move quickly by jumping along the tops of trees. Wildland fires are usually signaled by dense smoke that fills the area for miles around3. .. Impacts/Causes of injury and damage: Destruction of vegetated and eventually inhabited areas and construction sites, potentially leading to large areas with ecological and economical losses. A major wildland fire can leave a large amount of scorched and barren land. These areas may not to return to prefire conditions for decades. If the wildland destroyed the ground cover, then erosion becomes one of several potential problems4. Smoke and other emissions contain pollutants that can cause significant health problems. The short-term effects contain destruction of timber, forage, wildlife habitats, scenic vistas, and watersheds. Furthermore the long-term effects contain reduced access to recreational areas; destruction of community infrastructure and cultural and economic resources5. .. Emergency action: Control Techniques: Bushfires are usually fought by numerous trained volunteers and a core of professional firefighters with vehicle -mounted equipment (in accessible terrain). Observation is often provided by light aircraft and helicopters. Water-bombing is also provided by helicopters with buckets which lift water from dams, lakes or swimming pools. They are effective in stopping spot fires ignited by windborne firebrands, sometimes kilometres ahead of the main fire-front. This greatly assists and contributes to the safety of firefighting crews. In large bushfires, bulldozers and graders are used to create emergency firebreaks ahead of firefronts. Back-burning from firebreaks is frequently effective in slowing or stopping the spread of fire.6. .. Mitigation: Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now such as installing a spark arrestor on your chimney, cleaning roof surfaces and gutters regularly and using only fireresistant materials on the exterior of your home, will help reduce the impact of wildland fires in the future. For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.7 .. Further Information: Emergency Management Australia (EMA) http://www.ema.gov.au/agd/EMA/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(1FEDA2C440E4190E0993A00B7C030CB7)~Hazards+7th+ed.pdf/$file/Hazards+7th+ed.pdf

Above info4mation is from UN-SPIDER

Special Features

NOAA

Hazard Mapping System – US
Fires & Smoke Satellite Analysis
Fire Danger Map – US
Fire Detection Around The World
Fire Weather Outlook – US
Covering Florida Fires

International Wildfires

The following links are via the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), an Activity of the
UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction  (UN-ISDR)

Current Global Fire Status
-Current & Archived Significant Global Fire Events and Fire Season Summaries
-Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics
-Regional and Global Vegetation Fire Emissions

Global Wildland Fire Early Warning System

International Assistance in Wildland Fire Emergencies
Emergency Assistance through the United Nations and the GFMC
International Agreements
Satellite Data for Wildland Fire Emergency Response
International Wildland Fire Response Operators and Material Suppliers
International Wildland Fire Exercises

Global Wildland Fire Network
Int. Wildland Fire Summit 2003
4th International Wildland Fire Conference 2007
5th International Wildland Fire Conference 2011

Global Fire Inventories and Models
Global Wildland Fire Assessment
Global Burnt Area Satellite Products
Other Remote Sensing Products
Fire Statistical Databases
Global Fire Models

International Forest Fire News (IFFN)

International Fire Management Programmes
Community-Based Fire Management (CBFiM)
Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network (EFNCN)
International Peatland Fire Network
International Technical Cooperation Projects in Fire Management and Research
Fire Initiatives and Projects by NGOs

International Wildland Fire Research Programmes
United Nations University (UNU)
International Wildland Fire Research Programmes (IGBP-IGAC-BIBEX, IUFRO; IBFRA, FIRE PARADOX)

 Fire Meetings, Fire Management Training Courses & Jobs
Upcoming Fire and Related Meetings
GFMC-Wildland Fire Training Center Africa
EuroFire
Other Fire Management Courses and University Training
Retrospectives of Fire Meetings & Training Courses
Research and Employment Opportunities

Fire Glossaries, Literature and Software
Fire Management Glossaries
GFMC Fire Management Guidelines
Online Publications, Libraries and Bibliographies
U.S. Fire Information Systems and Software Products
International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF)
Photo Archives and Contest

GFMC Links
Africa
-Australia and New Zealand

Europe / Russia / CIS
North America
-Mesoamerica
South America
Asia
Remote Sensing of Vegetation Fires
Weather and Climate Forecasts
-Natural Disasters
-Global Environmental Monitoring

Other US Links

USDA Active Fire Mapping System
MODIS Fire Imagery
USGS: Western Wildfires
USGS: Wildfire Research
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Fire Management
National Interagency Fire Center
NIFC National Fire News
Wildland Fire Assessment
Calif Fires
Bureau of Land M’gmt
Florida Division of Forestry
National Park Service
InfoZone
Forest Service: Fire
Forest Service: Other Fire Links
The Natural Role of Fire
Montana Fires

Other US Wildfire Sites

UCSB Southern California Wildfire Hazard Center
Firewise
Firehouse
Wildfire Images
Florida Today: Special Report
History of Wildfires
Wildfire News
American Red Cross: WildFires
Wildlandfire:”They Said”

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