Sunday, December 04, 2011


Autumn Drought in Western Europe?

Observed in the news (, also Guardian for the second one) this week, a couple of items I haven't seen elsewhere: Drought traps ships on Danube and a bit to the west, two unexploded WW II bombs were discovered in the bed of the Rhine near Koblenz after the Rhine's water level fell due to lack of rain. The first reports that November was the driest in the Czech Republic since records began (in 1775).

Meanwhile, more or less, severe flooding in Thailand a few weeks ago put a large share of the hard disk drive manufacturing world wide out of commision, resulting in shortages for months to come and shortage-driven price hikes.

Update (5 Dec.)
A little searching for more news didn't immediately turn up any in major French sources (le Figaro, le Monde) or the Los Angeles Times, but a Bulgarian source called novinite reported ten days ago that Bulgaria's Danube Section with Lowest Level Since 1941. More recently, they've noted the forced closing of large river ports because the draft is down to as little as 70 cm (versus 260 for normal operations), declaring Danube's Low Waters Devastate Business of Major Bulgarian Port. Today France's le Monde reported that a nuclear power plant on the Danube may have to shut down its two reactors for lack of cooling water (or too high impact on river water temperatures) but that report is for paid subscribers only.
Nothing more has been said about the bomb removal at Koblenz yesterday, so let's trust it was carried out successfully without harm.

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