Russian volcano activity causes global concern

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
By Paul Martin

Balkans.com
07.02.2011

Now the world has something else to grip about when it comes to Russia – the weather.

A string of volcanoes on Russia’s eastern seaboard of Kamchatka have been unusually active for the last six months. The dust they threw up diverted winds in the Arctic, pushing cold air over Europe and North America and causing the unusually cold winter this year, say scientists.

The volcanoes (160 in total, of which 29 are active) are still on the go and could create more problems this year, depressing harvests around the world just as global food prices soar and culminating in a second freezing winter next Christmas.

The eruptions have come at the worst possible time. The Pacific Ocean has already been cooled by the so-called La Nina – which contributed to the deluge in Australia and Tropical Cyclones – while at the same time the Atlantic Ocean is warmer than usual, say climatologists. Erste Bank says the combination of this means the weather forecast for the first quarter of this year is extreme, which will hit both the agricultural and mining sectors, sending already spiking prices up even faster. “These climatic conditions reduce the outlooks of harvest for agricultural commodities (last year was also bad) and prevent the mining of commodities like coal,” says Erste. “The extreme weather will probably culminate in the [first quarter] – this is the reason why the prices of commodities will be influenced by this weather… then an acceleration of consumer inflation… There are also problems for transport due to strong storms.”

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