High temperature extreme:
Telfer, W. Australia +109 degrees
Low temperature extreme:
Siberia -64 degrees
The Earth's average
temperature in 2001 is expected to be the second-highest in 140 years of global record keeping, according to a World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) report.
The year's temperatures are slightly higher than those of 1997, which was previously the second-warmest
year. The warmest of all years in modern history was 1998. WMO deputy secretary general Michel Jarraud said, "Temperatures
are getting hotter, and they are getting hotter faster now than at any time in the past." Jarraud said that the warmer temperatures
had sparked an increase in the severity and frequency of storms and droughts, as well as other unusual conditions.
The highest levels of arsenic pollution in Nevada's air have been identified
by research scientists as originating in the Mongolian desert, halfway around the world.
Atmospheric scientist Thomas
Cahill of the University of California at Davis is part of a team studying the content of Asian dust plumes that cross the
Pacific, then spread over North America before drifting out over the Atlantic. The researchers have found that toxic metals
and other pollutants attach themselves to desert dust in an effective long-distance transport system. They noted that the
plumes are also sometimes beneficial, by picking up quartz dust and other particles that become part of a system that sustains
life in distant regions.
A freak outbreak of wintry weather
was responsible for hundreds of deaths across Europe and spread a variety of icy weather problems southward to the normally
Traffic was paralyzed by heavy snowfall from Spain to the Balkans. At least 1,000 people on a
Turkish train bound for Istanbul were left stranded without food near the city of Catalca after snow and ice blocked the rail
line. In Greece, soldiers battled blizzards to rescue another 108 passengers who had been trapped overnight on an Athens-bound
train. The worst blizzard since record keeping began in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi left the city of 300,000 with massive
blackouts and blocked highways.
Tropical storm Faxai drifted around Micronesia for several days before attaining typhoon strength and
taking aim on the U.S. territory of Guam late in the week.
least five people were killed and 40 others were injured when a prison building in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka collapsed
during an earthquake.
The nearest tremor detected by the global seismic network registered a magnitude of 4.5 about 200
miles south-southeast of Dhaka in neighboring Myanmar.
Earth movements were also felt in the Egyptian capital of Cairo,
southern Iran, southern Sumatra, central Japan and from Taiwan to Okinawa
least 16 people in central Africa's country of Gabon have died so far in a fresh outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease.
from the World Health Organization reported that 27 suspected cases, including those who have died, have been identified in
the country. Health specialists are working with residents to restrict movement, improve hygiene and stop the year-end tradition
of eating meat from chimpanzees and gorillas, which could possibly be infected with Ebola.
Winemakers in frosty Finland plan to grow grapes for wine production around a nuclear power plant,
using warm water from the reactor's cooling system.
Reijo Sundell of the power group Teollisudden Voima says that plastic
pipes have been buried beneath a field near the nuclear plant to keep the soil thawed even during the country's frigid winters.
Sundell told reporters that, "I suppose about half (the grapes) will become juice." But it has not yet been decided who will
turn the blue Latvian Zilga grapes into wine for the anticipated 2003 vintage. The warmed fields will also be used to grow
crops such as watermelons, garlic and other vegetables that normally cannot survive the bitter Finnish winters.