Tania Salmen on a mountain expedition that took a slippery turn
According to data released by a US government agency, average global temperatures for June this year were the highest for that month since records began in 1880.
A two-week period in June saw a rash of violent flooding across four different continents. In the early morning of Friday 11th June, 20 people were killed after heavy rain in Arkansas, USA, saw water levels in the Little Missouri river rise at up to 2.4m per hour, causing a wall of water to tear through busy campsites at the Ouachita National Forest. On 15th June it was the turn of the French Riviera to suffer under a deluge, when the region experienced its worst flooding since 1827.
The cold snap that hit South Africa in June, leading to incessant moaning from English football commentators who had failed to pack appropriately for the World Cup, had a far more malign impact on the nation's wildlife than it did on its showpiece sporting event. Around 600 African penguins, already an endangered species, were killed by the icy temperatures, heavy rain and significant wind chill over a two day period in mid-June on Bird Island, Algoa Bay in Eastern Cape province. The victims were mainly young chicks whose downy feathers provide scant protection against the elements.
Officials from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority have revealed that rising temperatures have caused the ice cap on the country's highest peak to split, blocking access to the summit of Mt Margherita – the third highest spot in Africa. The mountain is located in the Rwenzori mountain range – a place of great natural beauty which was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1994. Rwenzori is one of the few places near the equator where glacial ice can be found, but while the ice cap covered 6 sq km just 50 years ago, it now measures less than 1 sq km.
The ancient ruined city of Mohenjo-daro – one of Pakistan's most important historical and architectural landmarks – has once more achieved global significance, almost 4000 years after the sudden decline of its great Indus Valley civilization, by being struck by the fourth highest temperature ever recorded.
Other than the prolonged absence of female company, there hasn't been much that has united shepherds and sailors throughout history. But if the two most common forms of this age-old rhyme are to be believed, a mutual love of nocturnal red skies and antipathy towards red-tinged mornings binds these two ancient professions together.