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Dr.ram

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Dr.ram
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Torrential rains and swollen rivers have caused chaos across central and Eastern Europe, while a massive heat wave in southern Europe has helped reduce the Portuguese wood land to tinder Tens of thousands of people face a massive relief operation as the extent of the devastation slowly becomes clear. The death toll continues to mount steadily across the continent. The latest estimate puts the number since mid-August 2005 at over 150. “Unfortunately, we are expecting the number of victims to rise by the hour,” said Romanian interior minister Vasile Blaga. Though the heat wave persists in Portugal and Spain, forest fires in Portugal have been brought under control By August 26, 2005, the waters began to recede across Germany and the Czech Republic, the countries hardest hit, by the floods. The situation also improved in Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. But some areas of Switzerland and Germany remained on alert. Huge damages were reported from all over Europe. Thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes. Many villages were abandoned in Portugal, while helicopters were used in Switzerland and Austria to airlift people from flooded houses and landslides. The floods worst impact was along the Danube, Morava and Elbe rivers and their tributaries. Dresden in Germany was one of the hardest hit. Germany puts the damages at around US 14billion,buttheGermanstateofSaxonyaloneputsitsowncostsataroundUS14billion,buttheGermanstateofSaxonyaloneputsitsowncostsataroundUS16 billion. Austria quotes a cleanup bill of US 2billion,andthe‘CzechRepublicUS2billion,andthe‘CzechRepublicUS3 billion. But all these figures are speculative. What is disturbing is that relief operations appear stretched. In Germany, only US $200 per adult is currently available from both the EU and the government. The reason behind the bedlam is the jet stream, high-speed winds usually found just below the tropopause, which drives the depressions and fronts that affect the weather. Usually found between 7,620 metres (in) and ‘13,716(m) altitude, it flows eastwards at speeds up to 200 m per hour around the Earth. It is formed when cold air from the Arctic meets warm air from the tropics. Because the jet stream fluctuates, its track makes huge differences to the weather. This year it positioned around Europe locking high pressure over southwest Europe which in its turn is responsible for creating intense drought in some parts and deluges of rain in other parts. While many blame global warming for the disaster, some scientists are reluctant to draw a direct link. “We are linking these events to climate change… There are also other things happening building up of the land bad land use plans, bad fire prevention m the south… But all the factors together are more and more exacerbated by global warming,” explains Martin Hiller spokesperson for Worldwide Fund for Nature Malcolm Haylock of the University of East Anglia the UK, is more dithering You can say that due to the Earth getting warmer there will be on an average more extreme events but you can’t attribute any specific event to climate change’ Despite growing consensus about global warming, it is hard to find long-term trends in rainfall that would have directly the droughts and floods. Some experts believe the North Atlantic Oscillation climate system has caused a drift towards drier conditions in southern Europe and more rainfall m the north during winters; its effects during summers are not as clear. a. On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations wherever necessary. (5)
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