Russian Volcanoes Begin Erupting
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
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...