Volume 93, Issue 48

Wednesday, November 24, 1999


USC could change meaning of student

PhD program arrives at BOG

Western unites in fundraising drive

City narrows field in decision for contract

Sunny days sweep the clouds away

UN sounds alarm on AIDS


Caught on campus


Sunny days sweep the clouds away

By Clare Elias
Gazette Staff

When a weather expert quotes rock stars to describe the current heat wave, there is little doubt something is out of whack.

"Bob Dylan once said, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," explained Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "What he meant was that the air flows from the South and that's why we're getting the warm weather."

The current weather London has been experiencing will continue for the next four to five days, Phillips added. Current temperatures are the result of low pressure systems moving across the Pacific Ocean and the U.S., pulling the warm, dry air into Ontario, he said.

Yesterday's high of 18.1 degrees Celsius was a record high for Nov. 23 in comparison to records dating back to 1940. "It's never been this warm, in fact we smashed the record," Phillips said.

However, Phillips warned the temperature of one day is not a reason to blame human intervention. "It is both natural forces and human things, such as [carbon dioxide], blending together which are causing this," he said. "We should be concerned about the climate, but also enjoy the weather."

Rick Lee, manager of product development for the Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, said he expects the unseasonably warm weather to drop by Thursday morning.

Lee said in the meteorological world, the current temperatures do not constitute unusual weather. "A large component of the atmosphere is chaotic in nature. It therefore isn't possible to put down a single event as affecting climatic changes."

However, Lee added there is cause for concern over the frequency of extreme weather, which he said is predicted to increase over the next century.

James Voogt, assistant professor of geography at Western, said it is possible we are experiencing an anomalous flow of southeast winds from the U.S. which are consistent with La Nina.

While the unusual weather cannot be explained by global warming, it is a contributing factor to these warm episodes, Voogt said. "Since industrial time began, we have increasingly seen warming. It is human induced."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999