Global warming takes a short break

Global warming takes a short break

Snow covers the trees at Sapa, a mountainous town in northern Vietnam, Lao Cai province, Vietnam 24 January 2016. Northern provinces in Vietnam has entered the coldest time of the year, according to media reports. EPA
Snow covers the trees at Sapa, a mountainous town in northern Vietnam, Lao Cai province, Vietnam 24 January 2016. Northern provinces in Vietnam has entered the coldest time of the year, according to media reports. EPA

Snow, sleet and icy winds across Asia caused deaths, flight cancellations and chaos over the weekend as areas used to warmer weather struggled with record-low temperatures.

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BBC weather presenter Sarah Keith-Lucas explains what happened.

Thailand has had it relatively easy compared to many other countries in the region. The abnormally cold weather resulted from a mass of cold air pouring in from northern regions, in this case Siberia, a temporary phenomenon known variously as "Polar Vortex" or "Arctic Oscillation", relatively common in North America, but unusual here. Some experts say, however, with global warming disrupting normal weather patterns, such cold snaps might become more frequent in the future.

Here is a report on Asia's cold snap from AFP

Asia shivers, slips and slides in record low temperatures

Hong Kong, (AFP) – Snow, sleet and icy winds across Asia caused deaths, flight cancellations and chaos over the weekend as areas used to basking in balmier climates struggled with record-low temperatures.

A cruise boat makes it way through ice on the Han river in Seoul on January 25, 2015. Temperatures in the South Korean capital fell to minus 18 degrees Celsius over the weekend, the lowest in ten years. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones

Weather-related deaths were reported in Japan and Taiwan, with hundreds of flights cancelled across the region, tens of thousands of holiday-makers stranded in South Korea, and freezing conditions in sub-tropical Hong Kong causing mayhem on its tallest peak.

While the cold snap is by no means on the scale of the weather now affecting the snow-bound eastern United States, such temperatures are a novelty for many residents of the region.

In Vietnam, temperatures in Hanoi dropped to six degrees at night over the weekend, which state-run media said was the coldest weather the country has experienced for two decades.

Mountainous areas in the country's north, including the popular tourist town of Sapa, experienced light snow. Some primary schools were closed in the capital Monday, officials said.

Snow sits on the Chinese god statues at the Pinglin temple in the high mountain area of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. An unusually cold weather front that caused sudden drops in temperatures has been blamed for killing as many as 57 people in Taiwan's greater Taipei area. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Taipei registered a low of 4 degrees over the weekend, the coldest in 44 years, with the Taiwan media reporting 65 deaths due to the cold weather, and rare snowfall drawing enthusiastic crowds to Yangmingshan National Park.

Birds sit on a frozen crane sculpture fountain with icicles hanging from its wings at a Tokyo park on January 25, 2016. A cold atmosphere sent temperatures plummeting to the lowest levels this winter in many parts of Japan. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

In Japan five people died and more than 100 were injured Sunday as record-breaking heavy snowfall and low temperatures hit the country's western and central regions and rare snow fell in subtropical areas, officials and local media said.

The small subtropical island of Amami observed snow for the first time since 1901, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

In China, 24 weather stations around the country recorded all-time low temperatures between Friday and Sunday.

Row boats sit stuck in the ice of the frozen coastal waters of Jiaozhou Bay in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province on January 25, 2016. AFP PHOTO

At Eergu'Na in Inner Mongolia, the temperature on Saturday hit a record low of -46.8 degrees.

The southern city of Guangzhou saw rare sleet, the first in 60 years, in its downtown area, the provincial meteorological station announced on Sunday.

In Hong Kong, primary schools and kindergartens were closed Monday after temperatures plunged to a 60-year low.

A 100-kilometre ultra-marathon race was abandoned as competitors crossing the city's tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan, slipped on icy slopes buffeted by freezing winds.

Hikers are covered with ice under sub-zero temperatures at Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong, China January 24, 2016. Government radio reported on Sunday that Hong Kong Observatory said it was the coldest day in 59 years, with the temperature dropping to 3.3 degrees in urban areas. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The peak became the scene of "carnage", as one race official described it, as hundreds of curious "frost-chasing" citizens became stranded, with dozens stricken with hypothermia and hapless firemen called in to rescue them, filmed slipping and sliding on the icy roads.

Close to 90,000 people were stranded on the South Korean resort island of Jeju on Monday after the biggest snowfall in three decades shut the airport for the third straight day. (Local television reported that flights resumed later in the day.)

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  • abandon: to stop doing an activity before you have finished it - เลิก
  • abnormally: not happening in a usual or typical way - ผิดปกติ ไม่ธรรมดา
  • atmosphere: the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth - บรรยากาศรอบโลก
  • balmy (adj): warm and pleasant - ปลอดโปร่ง
  • bask: to enjoy sitting or lying in the heat or light of something, especially the sun - อาบแดด
  • buffet: to knock or push somebody/something roughly from side to side - พัดกระหน่ำ, โหมกระหน่ำ
  • by no means (adjective): not at all; is not true - มิใช่ใดๆเลย
  • cancellation: a decision to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - การยกเลิก
  • capital: the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง
  • carnage: a situation in which there is a lot of death and destruction - การทำลายล้าง, การฆ่าอย่างโหดร้าย
  • chaos: a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess - ความยุ่งเหยิง, ความสับสน
  • citizen: someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country - พลเมือง 
  • climate: the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place - สภาพอากาศ
  • coastal: of an area of land beside the sea - แนวชายฝั่งทะเล
  • cold snap: a sudden short period of very cold weather -
  • common: ordinary; not unusual or special - ธรรมดา; สิ่งที่เห็นได้บ่อยๆ
  • competitor: a person, team or company that is competing against others - ผู้แข่งขัน, คู่แข่ง
  • conditions: the weather at a particular time - สภาพอากาศ
  • crane: a large bird with long legs and a long neck that lives near water - นกกระเรียน,นกกระสา
  • curious (adj): having a strong desire to know about something - อยากรู้อยากเห็น
  • decades: periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี
  • disrupt: to prevent something from continuing as usual or as expected - ทำให้เสียกระบวน, ทำให้เสียระบบ, ทำให้สับสน
  • draw: to attract or interest somebody - ดึงดูดความสนใจ
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • enthusiastic: very interested in something or excited about it - อย่างสนใจ กระตือรือร้น
  • experience (verb): to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ
  • expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • fountain: a structure from which water is sent up into the air by a pump, used to decorate parks and gardens/yards - น้ำพุเทียม, น้ำพุ, น้ำพุประดิษฐ์
  • frequent: happening often - เกิดขึ้นบ่อย
  • front: the line where a mass of cold air meets a mass of warm air -
  • frost (noun): a weather condition in which the temperature drops below 0°C (= freezing point ) so that a thin white layer of ice forms on the ground and other surfaces, especially at night - น้ำค้างแข็ง, แม่คะนิ้ง (ภาษาถิ่นทางภาคเหนือ)
  • future: what will happen to somebody/something at a later time - อนาคต
  • global warming (noun): the slow increase in the temperature of the earth over time caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around the earth (Greenhouse Effect) - การอุ่นขึ้นของโลก, ความร้อนขึ้นของบรรยากาศโลก
  • hapless: of someone who you feel sorry for because bad things have happened to them - เคราะห์ร้าย
  • hiker (noun): a person who goes for long walks in the country for pleasure - ผู้เดินทางไกลด้วยเท้า
  • hypothermia: a serious medical condition in which your body temperature is very low - อุณหภูมิของร่างกายลดลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • icicle: a pointed piece of ice that is formed when water freezes as it falls down from something such as a roof - แท่งน้ำแข็งแหลมที่ย้อยลงมา
  • injured (adj): hurt in an accident, natural disaster, attack, etc. - ได้รับบาดเจ็บ
  • kindergarten: a school for children, usually between the ages of two and five - โรงเรียนอนุบาล
  • level: a position or rank in a scale of size or importance - ระดับ
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • marathon (noun): a long running race of about 42 kilometres or 26 miles; a very long run - การแข่งวิ่งมาราธอน, วิ่งเป็นระยะทางไกลมาก
  • mass: a large amount of something - ปริมาณมาก
  • mayhem: a situation in which there is little or no order or control - ความโกลาหล
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • meteorological: relating to the study and prediction of the weather - เกี่ยวกับทางอุตุนิยมวิทยา
  • mountainous: having a lot of mountains -
  • novelty (noun): a thing, person or situation that is interesting because it is new, unusual or has not been known before - เรื่องหรือสิ่งใหม่,สินค้าใหม่ที่แปลกและมักอยู่ในตลาดได้ชั่วคราวเท่านั้น
  • observatory: a special building/satellite from which scientists watch the stars, the weather, etc. - หอสังเกตการณ์
  • observe: to watch or study someone or something with care - สังเกตการณ์
  • official: someone with an important position in an organisation - เจ้าหน้าที่
  • pattern: a series of actions or events that together show how things normally happen or are done - แบบฉบับ, แบบแผน
  • peak: the pointed top of a mountain; a mountain with a pointed top - จุดสูงสุด, ยอดสูงสุด
  • phenomenon (plural phenomena): something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting - ปรากฏการณ์
  • plummet: to fall suddenly; to suddenly become much lower - ตกฮวบลง
  • plunge: to (cause someone or something to) move or fall suddenly and often a long way forward, down or into something - ลดลงอย่างเร็ว (เช่น ราคา, อุณหภูมิ)
  • popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • pour in: to flow in or enter in large amounts - ไหลเข้า
  • primary school: a school for young children usually between the ages of 5/6 and 11 - โรงเรียนประถมศึกษา
  • rare: not happening very often - เกิดขึ้นได้ยาก
  • record: the best or most ever achieved - สถิติ
  • region: a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ
  • register: to be officially recorded as ... -
  • relatively: somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar - ค่อนข้าง
  • rescue: to save a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ช่วยชีวิต
  • residents: people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง
  • scale: the size or extent of something, especially when compared with something else - ขนาด, ระดับ
  • sculpture: an object made by forming material such as wood, clay, metal or stone into solid objects that represent a thing, person, idea, etc. - รูปสลัก, รูปปั้น, รูปหล่อ
  • shiver (verb): (of a person) to shake slightly because you are cold, frightened, excited, etc. - สั่น
  • sleet (noun): a mixture of rain and snow - ฝนตกเป็นเม็ดน้ำแข็ง, แผ่นน้ำแข็งบนพื้นดินที่เกิดจากน้ำฝนแข็งตัว
  • slide (past form: slid): to move easily over a smooth or wet surface; to make something move in this way - ลื่น
  • slip: to slide a short distance by accident so that you fall or nearly fall; to slide out of position or out of your hand - ลื่นไถล
  • slope: a straight surface that has one end higher than the other - พื้นที่ลาดเอียง, ที่ลาด
  • snow-bound (adj): covered with snow so that it is difficult or impossible to travel -
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • statues: human or animal images that are made of stone, wood, metal, etc. - รูปปั้น
  • straight: consecutive; happening one after the other, without interruption - ต่อเนื่อง
  • stranded: left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
  • stricken: affected by serious problems such as injury or illness - ได้รับผลกระทบจากปัญหาหนักหน่วง
  • struggle (verb): to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม; ต่อสู้
  • temperature: a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is - อุณหภูมิ
  • temporary: existing, done or used for only a limited period of time - ชั่วคราว
  • tropical: relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn - ในเขตร้อน
  • ultra-: extremely - ที่สุด
  • urban: connected with towns and cities - เขตเมือง
  • variously (adv): in several different ways, usually by several different people - อย่างแตกต่างกัน, อย่างหลากหลาย
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