This is also turning out to be an unusual year even in places where wildfires regularly occur. California and Greece both experienced a faster-than-usual start to their fire seasons. California’s Mendocino complex fire was recently declared to be the largest ever recorded in the state. (Editors’ note: As of November 12, 2018, the Camp Fire became most damaging fire in state history, with 29 deaths and over 6,700 structures destroyed so far.) July’s wildfire in Mati, Greece caused 90 deaths. What’s Causing These Unusual Fires?In more populated places, fire occurrence is closely linked with human activity, such as campfires and discarded cigarettes. But this year’s record-breaking heat waves and dry weather contributed by drying forests and creating drought conditions so pronounced they are visible from space. These dry conditions allow fires to spread rapidly, creating large, out-of-control blazes like what we’re seeing right now in Montana and California.Are Today’s Fires a Sign of What’s to Come?With a warming climate, some places will become wetter while others will become drier, and every degree of warming increases the probability of extreme events. Climate change is also predicted to increase the likelihood of lightning-ignited wildfires.Even in the short term, the trend of warming weather and unusual wildfires is likely to continue. Global weather cycles, such as the El Niño/La Niña climate oscillation, cause major temperature and precipitation anomalies around the world, and contribute to year-to-year variation in the number of wildfires worldwide. The last strong El Niño in 2015-16 led to the worst Indonesian wildfires in 20 years, and a record year for fire-driven tree cover loss across the Amazon region in 2016. According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, El Niño has a 65 percent chance of returning during September-December 2018, and a 70 percent chance during December 2018-March 2019. And this year’s fire season is on track to become the worst since at least 2012 in England, Germany, Denmark and Norway. Estonia has already seen more than double the number of fires in 2018 than any other year since at least 2012. This time of year always brings wildfires. But what’s unusual this fires season is where and how the blazes are burning—and it could be a warning sign of what’s to come.Hotter-than-normal temperatures and drought across much of northern Europe and North America in June and July have resulted in wildfires burning in what are typically wetter, cooler regions. England’s peatland moors, Ireland, Sweden, Scandinavia and even areas north of the Arctic Circle experienced significant fires over the past two months.According to data displayed on Global Forest Watch Fires, Sweden, Finland and Latvia experienced more fires in 2018 than they have any other year since at least 2012, when the collection of such data began.
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Victoria’s Greek Independent schools have outperformed the country in the National Assessment Program (NAPLAN) tests. An overwhelming majority of students from Alphington Grammar, Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College and St John’s Greek Orthodox College exceeded the national benchmark, and achieved higher than the state and national average. The NAPLAN was held for the second time this year and tested all students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 on punctuation and grammar, numeracy, reading, writing and spelling. The test results, released to parents over the past few weeks are a means of comparing students’ achievements against national standards, and with student achievements in other schools and states.“Overall I was extremely pleased with the results; there was certainly a huge improvement since last year,” said principal Steve Charisis of Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College. “Our Year 3s were above the state average in all areas, and what pleased us was the range of results for the students were at the upper end of the spectrum. Grade 5 results were similar although they stood out more so in spelling and writing. Our Year 7s were on average above the national average, and the Year 9s were at or above,” he added.Principal Mike Smith of Alphington Grammar noted that students continued to excel as they they reached higher year levels.“The national results show a decline in number of students reaching higher levels as they get to Year 7 and 9 but this is not the case here,” he said.Although pleased that Alphington Grammar had achieved its goal of exceeding state averages, Smith acknowledged that there were some question marks over the reliability of the tests as a predictor of student and school achievements.“These results are only a snapshot of students performances within a relatively limited range of skills within numeracy and literacy,” he said. “The variation in curriculum across schools in different states means that some subjects are covered in a different order or receive more attention than in other states.” Charisis was quick to agree.“We don’t find out things from these tests that we don’t already know as teachers assess and structure programs on an ongoing basis,” he said. “No one would say one assessment done on one particular day would truly give you an accurate reflection.”Although pleased with her school’s NAPLAN results, noting that a number of Year 7 students achieved in the top 10 per cent of the nation, acting principal of St John’s Greek Orthodox College, Jane Sulicich indicated there was always room to excel further.“We have been invited to be a part of the Government’s new National Partnerships Program where our staff will be provided with significant training to further improve student outcomes in the areas of reading and numeracy,” she said.“We are very excited about this opportunity…and we look forward to the improvement on comparative results in 2010.”
Share on Facebook First published on Mon 17 Nov 2008 19.03 EST Mon 17 Nov 2008 19.03 EST Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Shares00 Share via Email This article is more than 10 years old Share on Twitter Toshack puts his faith in youth This article is more than 10 years old Share via Email Friendlies news Wales Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook @SachinNakrani Sachin Nakrani Wales will be relying heavily on raw talent in tomorrow’s friendly in Denmark. John Toshack, the manager, flew to Copenhagen yesterday with the youngest squad in the country’s history, which included seven teenagers and 12 players still eligible for the Under-21s.Toshack’s hand has partly been forced after injury ruled out five senior players, but the Wales assistant manager, Dean Saunders, still believes that by selecting a squad with an average age of 21 the manager has shown his willingness to give his prospective stars a chance to shine.”John has done brilliantly for all of them,” said Saunders. “It has taken a bit of time but there is some extremely good young talent around which bodes well for the future and our chance of qualifying for a major tournament finals in five or six years.”What has particularly pleased Saunders is that, having been given their debuts by Toshack, some of Wales’ young players such as Aaron Ramsey and Chris Gunter have gone on to secure moves to Premier League clubs. “It was not so long ago that we had just two or three players in the Premier League,” said Saunders. ” But now we have got a lot more playing against the best players in the world and that can only be a good thing.”While Wales are drooling over their crop of future stars, Northern Ireland have stepped up the process of finding their own. The manager, Nigel Worthington, has asked to be kept informed on a regular basis about the country’s Under-21, -19 and -17 teams and has promised to watch them in action much more often. The senior side face Hungary in a friendly in Belfast tomorrow night. Wales Topics Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Reuse this content