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Igloo

Third icebreaker abandons rescue of climate scientists boat in Antarctica, media fog, obscure, don't say "climate"

LATEST NEWS: Aurora Australis abandons attempt to save Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica. The SMH headline could've said "Another icebreaker abandons attempt to save climate scientist's boat in Antarctica."

UPDATE:
Russia says 54 of 74 passengers to be helicoptered off if weather permits. (h/ tPeter Miller) The Polar Star icebreaker has left from the US to come help. It will take 8 -9 days to arrive. (Guardian)

Welcome to Media-Sport, where we score points watching a part of the media dance around the hysterical folly of an Antarctic climate science expedition trapped in sea ice for six nights (and counting). The Art of Propaganda is not just in the telling of one-sided lines, but is crafted through parts left unsaid.
Akademik Shokalskiy
© Joannenova.com
More global warming, it is everywhere you look. View from Akademik Shokalskiy.
With three ice-breaker rescue ships trying to reach them, the latest news is that the scientists and media entourage may have to abandon ship and be helicoptered to safety (though right now even that is not possible due to the very rough weather). The ABC news home page at time of posting this has zero references to "Antarctica", but does say there are cracks in ice around a stranded ship.

The decision to abandon the latest attempt was made at 9am Australian EST. The SMH story appeared at 4.40pm, and the ABC reported it on "just in" at 5.40pm. Marvelous how "fast" satellite communications and social media can work. No mention on The Guardian Australia site (despite them having a reporter on the boat). No twitters seen on the @GdnAntarctica, or @guardian, @alokjha (their journalist), @loztopham (their documentary maker), or #spiritofmawson or @ProfChrisTurney. (Perhaps those trapped on the boat don't know?)

Igloo

All scientists and passengers to be taken off ship stuck in Antarctic Ice

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© Andrew Peacock/Australasian Antarctice Expedition/Reuters
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) was advised this morning by the Aurora Australis that the ship will not be able to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

The Aurora Australis advised RCC Australia it would be at risk of becoming beset by ice itself if it continued to make further rescue attempts.

The Aurora Australis made attempts yesterday to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy but was driven back into open waters due to adverse weather conditions such as winds up to 30 knots and snow showers resulting in poor visibility. The ship is currently located about 16 nautical miles east of the Russian vessel.

The helicopter on board the Chinese flagged vessel Xue Long will now be used to rescue the passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

This rescue will be a complex operation involving a number of steps and subject to factors such as weather.

The helicopter is unable to fly in the current weather conditions, and will hold off on the rescue until conditions improve. Weather conditions are unlikely to start improving until tomorrow and decisions related to carrying out the rescue may be made at short notice.

Snowflake Cold

Mercury plummets 32 degrees in just hours in Minneapolis MN

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© NBC News
Bitterly cold weather lingered in central and eastern parts of the country on Monday, with some regions experiencing wind chills as low as 25 to 35 degrees below zero.

"Very cold wind chills this morning," the National Weather Service said in an advisory for Wisconsin, warning about the possibility of frost bite and hypothermia if precautions weren't taken.

The combination of frigid air and high winds would produce wind chills of up to 35 degrees below zero from the Dakotas into Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, it predicted.

The Weather Channel noted that Minneapolis saw a 32 degree temperature swing on Sunday, "starting the day at 29 degrees, at midnight, temperatures plummeted to 3 below zero by 10 a.m. And factoring in the winds, it felt closer to 20 below."

Igloo

Stormy weather, heavy snow hit northern Japan

Tokyo - Heavy snow and blizzards hit many parts of the Sea of Japan coast and Hokkaido on Saturday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a low pressure system had brought a cold air mass over northern Japan, bringing 22 cms of snow in Yamagata, Niigata, Akita and Toyama prefectures, and up to 50 cms in mountainous regions.

Hokkaido received heavy snowfall and blizzards as well, TBS reported. Shin-Chitose airport in Sapporo reported the cancellation of 23 flights, while JR Hakodate canceled 60 train services between Sapporo and Hakodate.

The meteorological agency forecast the blizzard-like conditions to continue until Monday and cautioned that transportation could be further disrupted.

Binoculars

Bird watchers flock to Portland, UK after a rare Arctic Brunnich's Guillemot spotted

Image
© Debby Saunders
The Brunnich's Guillemot
Bird lovers are flocking to Portland after a rare Arctic visitor was spotted in the harbour.

Hundreds of people from all over the country headed to Portland Marina to get a glimpse of a Brunnich's Guillemot (or Thick-billed Murre ) which is usually found in colder, northern climates including Russia and Norway.

Crowds of enthusiasts are still there today trying to photograph the bird.

Debby Saunders, of Portland, first saw the vagrant, which is believed to have been blown off course in the recent bad weather, on Boxing Day.

She said: "It is really exciting. It is the first time this species has been seen this far south in the UK."

Debby was bird watching with her husband Pete when she saw the Brunnich's in the distance.

Comment: See also: Ice Age Cometh: Snowy Owl invasion coming in North America?

Maine experiencing a Canadian owl invasion

Incredible Hawk Owl invasion in Estonia!

Huge Snowy Owl invasion becomes official in Canada and U.S.

Thousands of Hawk Owls descend on Finland as food in northern Russia runs out

Ice Age Cometh: Unprecedented influx of Arctic Ivory Gulls into UK


Ice Cube

Update! Chinese icebreaker cancels rescue mission to save expedition in Antarctica 'because sea ice is too thick'

Image
© Laurence Topham for the Guardian
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long has had to abandon its rescue mission of the Akademik Shokalskiy
The Guardian's man on the icebound vessel reports on the freezing conditions as the expedition waits for assistance

Cape de la Motte, East Antarctica: the Xue Long appeared as a dot on the horizon, against a bright blue sky, to the starboard side of our ice-locked ship just after dinnertime on Friday evening, local time.

After two days of intense blizzards, with biting cold that had forced us to spend all our time below decks, the break in the weather and the approaching rescue had put the crew and passengers of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy in good spirits.

With temperatures at a pleasantly bearable -1C, some of the crew went on to the ice surrounding the ship in all directions and killed time by making igloos. The rest remained on board and watched the Chinese icebreaker through binoculars as it appeared to make steady progress, silently zigzagging through the ice, from the upper deck of the ship.

As we waited, penguins, apparently confused by the sudden appearance of a solid mass caused by the compacting of ice floes around our vessel, wandered past at regular intervals, looking for the shoreline.

Comment: Global warming? Antarctica hit a new all-time coldest temperature record of -135 degrees Fahrenheit TWICE in last three years


Cloud Precipitation

Weather caused late deliveries for Christmas - Senator calls for refunds from shipping companies

Thousands of UPS packages will arrive after Christmas
Image
© Mark Lennihan/AP
For the Allan family in Clearwater, Fla., Chicago beef is an annual holiday tradition. The family orders Christmas dinner shipped in every year from the famed Portillo's Restaurant.

"It's a big deal," said Jan Allan. "It's something to us that's special for our family. It's not something we can get in Florida."

She was planning a dinner party for 20 friends and family. When the food didn't arrive by early Christmas Eve, she was worried.

"I became concerned and tried to check the tracking number," said Allan.

It turned out the Allans were among thousands of families that didn't get their Christmas package by Christmas.

For the first time this year, UPS took on more overnight packages than it could deliver. The company apologized to customers, blaming bad winter weather in the South and a surge in online shopping.

The apology didn't go far with people on social media, which exploded with complaints about UPS and FedEx from customers furious about empty spots under their trees.

Most complaints were directed at UPS, which issued statements on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day acknowledging that the company was overwhelmed by unexpected volume and some packages were delayed until after the holiday.

Wreath

Alps avalanches leave four people dead after heavy snowfalls

Avalanche in St. Moritz
© Giancarlo Cattaneo/EPA
Experts examine the spot where an avalanche began near St Moritz, Switzerland, killing one person.
A series of avalanches in the Alps on Friday left four people dead, including a young Irishman, and several other skiers seriously injured, according to mountain rescue teams.

Off-piste skiers have been warned there may be further avalanches this weekend.

Seven skiers were swept away when avalanches hit the popular resorts of Val-Thorens, Courchevel, La Clusaz and Serre-Chevalier.

One man, reportedly a French mountain worker, aged 50, died in Courchevel as he tried to reach his chalet refuge with his son, when the pair were "surprised by an avalanche", mountain rescue services said. The son was saved, but his father died. In a separate incident at Serre-Chevalier, a second skier, described as between 15 and 20 years of age, died in hospital after being buried in snow after an avalanche reportedly under the ski lifts.

Comment: It would be normal in reporting such an incident that the avalanches were due to very heavy snowfall in the last few days, with some places receiving up to 1.5 meter of snow (5 feet). It is likely due to the fact that the Guardian has betted so heavily on the AGW horse that all information to the contrary is ignored. Here is the snow map for the last 3 days with numbers in centimeters:
snow map for Switzerland
© WSL-Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF
Fresh snow in the last 3 days. Last updated 27.12.2013, 09:31



Snowflake Cold

"Exceptional" snowfall in Cortina d' Ampezzo, Italy

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"Not only is North America experiencing power outages, so is Cortina d'Ampezzo, famous skiing area in Italy," says reader Mirco Poletto. "Due to snow Cortina has had no electrical power for several hours. Trees are falling and there is avalanche and landslide danger."

Cortina d'Ampezzo (Belluno ) has been without electricity since early morning due to exceptional heavy snowfall that is creating considerable discomfort around the Cadore.

The fresh snow has reached half a meter in height, closing several roads leading to Ampezzo and Cortina, which are currently only accessible from the main road. Mountain passes are closed.

On Falzarego six people were trapped in their cars by the snow and were recovered by rescuers and taken to the shelter Col Gallina.

Even the tourist town of Madesimo (Sondrio ) in high Vallespluga remains isolated from the rest of Lombardy for the entire night because of heavy snowfall .

On the whole alpine it has been snowing copious hours without a break, and is still snowing heavily.

"Exceptional" snowfall in Cortina d' Ampezzo, Italy

Thanks to Dr Mirco Poletto in Italy for this link

Snowflake Cold

'Heavy snowfall may disrupt Sochi Games'

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No shortage of snow has been forecast for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but potential heavy snowfall may cause real problems, a Russian official said.

"There will be enough snow, that issue doesn't disturb us," head of the Russian Weather Service, Rosgidromet, Alexander Frolov told reporters, reports Xinhua.

On the contrary, he said, there are concerns that heavy snowfall could seriously disrupt the competition in Sochi.

He warned that weather in that subtropical zone is very volatile and snowstorms there, once started, might last for two or three consecutive days .

In December, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has once issued an avalanche warning in Sochi, anticipating blackouts, disruption of communications, housing services and transportation in the mountainous area.

Source: IANS