Weather Watch

Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Weather Watch: End of days already? No, just better technology

Is this a sign of the end of the world or just a sun halo? Photo / Greg Bowker
Is this a sign of the end of the world or just a sun halo? Photo / Greg Bowker

Were the Mayans right in their prediction that the world will come to an end in 2012? Maybe it'll be a year earlier - which wouldn't be a bad guess, considering their prediction was made about 1500 years ago. It would be easy to think the world was ending this year, considering what has happened.

There were the Queensland floods; the category-5 cyclone Yasi; the Christchurch earthquake in February; the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, the following nuclear meltdown; deadly tornadoes in America; a deadly tornado in Auckland; a large volcanic eruption in Chile; and this month, a historic cold blast.

To top it off, weird little things have happened - like that small earthquake in Auckland and then the recent snowflakes in our largest city.

I've been asked this question a lot lately - is the world coming to an end? I do understand why New Zealanders are feeling that way. We have had to deal with more than our fair share of natural disasters this year, which also means we have a heightened sensitivity to any other major calamity.

Thing is, it was probably just our turn this year. We've had a fairly quiet 10 to 15 years really - Mt Ruapehu finished puffing and rumbling in the 90s, the tropical cyclones mostly stopped in 1997 and only returned this year, and our last deadly earthquake was in the 1980s. Though we've had some big natural disasters over the past 15 years, they have been spaced out.

The world isn't coming to an end, but better technology means we track more storms, break more records and detect more quakes. Social media means more devastation is noted.

But we can look at things positively - I'll leave you with this comment from Hope Breichler, who placed this comment on WeatherWatch's Facebook page: "The [Antarctic blast] was a most welcome distraction from earthquakes, which we in Canterbury have become rather fixated on and gave us all something else to talk and think about. I for one am going to try and not go back to the old thought patterns, and move on, so thanks for the great coverage and input, helpful in so many ways, and, ps, I know it was absolutely awful for some in ChCh and did nothing but make a hard life so much harder, and to you my thoughts and prayers."

- Herald on Sunday

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