ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PUBLISHED FOR EVERYBODY ROUND THE EARTH
The first sections of the 'more' part of the weather topic is dedicated to the issue of precipitation (rainfall or snowfall), which sometimes surprises us and causes major damage. Flash floods, river floods and storm tides, as well as thunderstorms, are all discussed in this section.
The second section explains, in more detail, the wind and weather systems, which have an impact over large areas of the world, such as El Niño or monsoons. The North Atlantic Oscillation is important for the European weather. In the third section, 'biometeorology', we have a look what health impacts the weather may have.
The weather can be particularly awful, if it rains heavily or heavy storms rip through the country.
Heavy rainfall and floods cause enormous damage world-wide and cost more human lives than we might expect. Sudden rainfall, which changes small brooks into violent wide rivers, turned the Elbe and Moldowa rivers into big lakes in summer 2002. Wide areas in Eastern Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland were flooded. People were in danger and could not be warned in adequate time. Storm tides threaten the coasts and undercut the cliffs causing landslides. In this unit we look at several sorts of flooding, the damage they cause, and why they occur. We also explain how a thunderstorm is formed.
The different warming of our planet depending on the latitude and the allocation of water and land is the driving engine of the wind systems of our planet Earth. Monsoons and trade winds are examples of two such systems.
Many of the traditional names of the wind zones have their roots from the time when sailing ships were used in the middle ages, when calms and storms could often decide about life and death. The El Niño phenomena, which is based on pressure variances, in this case over the mid Pacific, has a strong influence on temperature and precipitation on several continents. The weather in Europe and in the Mediterranean region, however, depends more on the North Atlantic Oscillation. You will learn more about these systems in the following sections of this unit.
During certain weather conditions many people complain about problems in their well-being or even illness. For example, we talk about the effect of overbearing humidity. The weather can exacerbate certain illnesses and elderly people and young children can be especially susceptible to health effects related to the weather conditions.
It has been proven statistically that weather events can have a strong influence on the life of humans and animals. During the heat wave in summer 2003 the mortality rate in some countries increased to many times its normal value.
Biometeorology is a scientific branch, which can be seen as the link between meteorology, biology and medical sciences. It investigates the direct and indirect influence of the atmosphere on humans and other living organisms. In this unit we will look at what these influences are.