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Of Interest

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The coldest January in 20 years

Hiroshi Matsumoto (Click to view larger version...)
Hiroshi Matsumoto
You may have felt these past couple of months that there was something wrong with Provence. After all, this region is supposed to be the land of balmy weather and permanent sunshine, and all we've had since December is rain, snow, gale, sleet and freezing temperatures.

Well, you were right. Méteo France, the French National Weather Service, just issued a report showing that the month of January was the coldest in the past 20 years, with temperatures 1.7 °C below average. Winter 2008-2009 as a whole was the third coldest over the same period.

Temperatures of —20° were registered in the north of the country, snow fell repeatedly in Paris, and here in the Bouches-du-Rhône, we had the spectacular episode of 7 January: 30-40 centimetres of snow causing an unforgettable "white mess," with motorways closed and hundreds of shivering commuters stranded in their cars (some ITER staff among them...). These conditions, however, are all part of "the natural variability of climate," explains Méteo France, and don't change the fact that "global warming is still on."

return to Newsline #72