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Fri, 15 Nov 2019
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Attention

Changes in high-altitude winds over the South Pacific produce long-term effects

Changes in Ocean-Atmosphere System
© Graphic: Helge Arz, IOW
Schematic depiction of changes in the ocean-atmosphere system in the South Pacific in comparison, throughout the precession cycles (21,000 years).
In the past million years, the high-altitude winds of the southern westerly wind belt, which spans nearly half the globe, didn't behave as uniformly over the Southern Pacific as previously assumed. Instead, they varied cyclically over periods of ca. 21,000 years. A new study has now confirmed close ties between the climate of the mid and high latitudes and that of the tropics in the South Pacific, which has consequences for the carbon budget of the Pacific Southern Ocean and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The study was prepared by Dr Frank Lamy, a geoscientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, together with researchers from Chile, the Netherlands, the USA and Germany, and has just been released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Changes in the southern westerly wind belt produce fundamental effects on the intensity and position of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which is the world's largest ocean current and shapes ocean circulation worldwide. In this regard, one key factor is the wind-driven upwelling of CO2-rich deep-water masses, which, due to their comparative warmth, influences both the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the carbon budget of the Southern Ocean.

On the basis of sediment cores, the team of researchers investigated precipitation-driven changes in sediment input in the Pacific off the coast of Chile. Assessing the past 1 million years, they identified what are known as precession cycles: changes caused by natural variations in the Earth's orbital parameters; in this case, cyclical changes in the rotation of its axis that occurred roughly every 21,000 years. Changes in these and other orbital cycles are generally considered to be a major driver for the alternation between extended glacials and interglacials over the past million years.

Snowflake Cold

Bitter blast of Arctic air sends temperatures plunging from Montana to Texas

weather
Winterlike temperatures that pushed into the northern Plains through the middle of this week will continue charging south and east through the into the weekend.

Cold air arrived in the northern Plains on Wednesday into Wednesday night. Temperatures dropped into the single digits from Montana to the Dakotas and into northern Iowa throughout Wednesday night.

The normal low temperature for this region during the beginning of November is in the middle to upper 20s F.

The cold air did not stop in the northern Plains as near-freezing temperatures followed a cold front sinking south into Texas through Wednesday night.

Attention

Second whale in 2 weeks washes up in Humboldt County, Oregon

dead whale
Two weeks after a live 25,000-Pound humpback was stranded, euthanized and buried on Samoa beach, another whale has washed ashore in Humboldt County.

A very dead, 35-foot gray whale is currently lying belly-up on the shoreline of Agate Beach in Patrick's Point State Park.

Humboldt State University marine mammal expert Dawn Goley told the Outpost today that the dead whale was first reported yesterday morning.

Snowflake

Up to 80cm of fresh snowfall hits the Alps

Val Thorens

Val Thorens
The heavy snowfall in the Alps is continuing to mount up and two French ski areas, Tignes and Val Thorens, have both reported 80cm of fresh snow up high.

Tignes is already open for winter 2019-20 and the new snow has transformed conditions there, which were previously fairly marginal. The resort is one of several to say it's base has now gone through the metre mark for the first time since the previous winter levels thawed down below a metre in late spring/early summer.

Val Thorens, pictured top, is likely to be the next French area to open in just over a fortnight, it reports 40cm of fresh snow in resort and 80cm up high.



Snowflake Cold

16 hours of heavy incessant snowfall in Kashmir valley with 7 people killed - up to 4 feet of snow

A man removing snow from a car during the first snowfall of the season in Gulmarg. While the snowfall has been moderate in the plains of Kashmir, the upper reaches have witnessed heavy snowfall.
© ANI
A man removing snow from a car during the first snowfall of the season in Gulmarg. While the snowfall has been moderate in the plains of Kashmir, the upper reaches have witnessed heavy snowfall.
Normal life paralysed, power lines down after 16 hours of incessant snowfall

Seven people were killed as 16 hours of incessant snowfall paralysed life in the Kashmir valley on Thursday. Surface as well as air traffic was completely disrupted.

This season's first heavy snowfall started on Wednesday night and continued all day on Thursday. It triggered avalanches at many places in the valley and turned the narrow tracks on the hill slopes dangerously slippery.

Traffic on all major highways connecting the valley to the rest of the country, including the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the Srinagar-Poonch Highway and the Srinagar-Kargil Highway, was completely disrupted. Around 2,000 vehicles were left stranded on these highways, officials said.


Snakes in Suits

You've been lied to: Walrus suicide NOT caused by climate change as Attenborough story quietly revised. What else is a lie?

walrus
© Reuters / Fabian Bimmer
Footage of walruses driven to suicide by climate change broke the world's heart last year, only for the story to be quietly revised. But if media lied about walrus suicides, what else are they lying about?

Renowned nature documentarian David Attenborough probably converted a few climate skeptics with his heartrending footage of walruses, their habitat decimated by climate change, throwing themselves off cliffs in despair in the 2018 Netflix documentary Our Planet.

Unfortunately, the story was untrue. Walruses regularly take to the water as part of their seasonal migration, and some plummet to their doom in their hurry to escape predators like polar bears, which sometimes hunt their prey by triggering a stampede off a precipice.

Bizarro Earth

Severe drought in Zimbabwe has killed 105 elephants in 2 months

dead elephant
© AP
The carcass of an Elephant lies on the edges of a sun baked pool that used to be a perennial water supply in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Weak from hunger and thirst, the elephant struggled to reach a pool of water in this African wildlife reserve. But the majestic mammal got stuck in the mud surrounding the sun-baked watering hole, which had dramatically shrunk due to a severe drought.

Eventually park staff freed the trapped elephant, but it collapsed and died. Just yards (meters) away lay the carcass of a Cape buffalo that had also been pulled from the mud, but was attacked by hungry lions.

Elephants, zebras, hippos, impalas, buffaloes and many other wildlife are stressed by lack of food and water in Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park, whose very name comes from the four pools of water normally filled by the flooding Zambezi River each rainy season and where wildlife traditionally drink. The word "mana" means four in the Shona language.

At least 105 elephants have died in Zimbabwe's wildlife reserves, most of them in Mana and the larger Hwange National Park in the past two months, according to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Many desperate animals are straying from Zimbabwe's parks into nearby communities in search of food and water.

Snowflake

Late snow surprises travellers at Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia

November Snow

November snow
Snow fell at Victoria's Mt Hotham on November 7 despite the ski season ending a month ago.

The dusting was posted on Mt Hotham's official page, with the caption: "Bit cool up at Hotham today and yes, it is snowing. Please take care on the road and check weather and road conditions on our website before travelling up here. If you are hiking, please ensure you are well prepared for the weather changes we get up here!"

The video shows snow falling on Hotham Central, which is a collection of retail businesses, including a supermarket, and office accomodation.

In the Facebook post, Mt Hotham officials also reminded travellers that the Dargo Road entry from Great Alpine Road had been closed, and urged motorists to check traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au for more info.


Credit: Mt Hotham via Storyful

Comment: Further south on the same day: Late spring snow blankets parts of Tasmania a week after bushfires raged


Snowflake Cold

Late spring snow blankets parts of Tasmania a week after bushfires raged

A cold front has brought snow to Tasmania’s central highlands just a week after bushfires threatened shacks in the area.
© Rob Morton
A cold front has brought snow to Tasmania’s central highlands just a week after bushfires threatened shacks in the area.
Springtime snow has blanketed parts of Tasmania, including the state's centre where bushfires raged a mere week ago.

Tourists and residents at Miena in the central highlands woke on Thursday morning to a thick covering of snow.

"White - there's no other way to describe it. It's beautiful," Great Lake Hotel general manager Rob Morton said.

"We've had a couple of campers that had a bit of a shock overnight, but we got them into the hotel and warmed them up."

The cold front follows a wildfire that threatened shacks near Miena in late October when authorities declared the official start of the bushfire season.

Comment: Related: Late snow surprises travellers at Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia


Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain, landslides and floods leave communities cut off in Montenegro

floods
Communities have been cut off and dozens of homes damaged after flooding in Montenegro from 05 November, 2019.

The Ministry of Emergency Management in Montenegro reported that days of heavy rain in the country has caused flooding and landslides in the municipalities of Niksic and Kolasin, prompting dozens of interventions by protection and rescue services.

Roads have been blocked leaving communities cut off and dozens of homes flooded with water up to 1 metre deep. At least 8 people were evacuated on 06 November in the village of Broćanac Niksic.