Extreme Temperatures

Cloud Lightning

Heavy hailstorm damages windows and trees in Sofia, Bulgaria

© BGNES/Gergana Kostadinova.Extremely heavy hailstorm hit Sofia, Tuesday afternoon.
A powerful hailstorm hit Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia, Tuesday afternoon minutes before 5 o'clock.

Pieces of ice the size of a walnut poured down for more than ten minutes without stopping. The disastrous hail has broken tens of cars' windshields, windows of buildings, tree branches all over the city.

The downpour caused traffic jams in the city center. Some of the main streets have been flooded and traffic is hampered.

Cloud Lightning

Reports of extreme hailstorms in North America and Europe

© Norman LucasA hole in Norman Lucas' roof caused by baseball sized hail.
"This is Mini-Ice-Age/Wild Jet Stream Age stuff," says astrophysicist Piers Corbyn.


"The news about damage caused by very large hail keeps popping up on the Internet," says reader Argiris Diamantis. "People are hiding in their basements because of the giant hail stones."


Hailstones as big as softballs

Three people sustained head injuries on Saturday afternoon near a lake west of Bismarck, North Dakota after a severe storm dropped hailstones as large as softballs.

Hailstones of this size can be fatal. Luckily, it's been 14 years since the last known fatality directly caused by hail in the United States.

A hailstone slightly larger than a baseball can fall at a rate of more than 100 MPH according to NOAA, so it's a surprising fact that more people aren't injured or killed by hailstorms more often.

Hail Seriously Injures Three in North Dakota


Rewriting the history of volcanic forcing during the past 2,000 years

Ice Cire Section
© Joseph McConnell An ice core section is simultaneously analyzed for a variety of elements and chemical species in DRI's ultra-trace ice core laboratory while slowly melting the ice on a heated melter plate.
A team of scientists led by Michael Sigl and Joe McConnell of Nevada's Desert Research Institute (DRI) has completed the most accurate and precise reconstruction to date of historic volcanic sulfate emissions in the Southern Hemisphere.

The new record, described in a manuscript published today in the online edition of Nature Climate Change, is derived from a large number of individual ice cores collected at various locations across Antarctica and is the first annually resolved record extending through the Common Era (the last 2,000 years of human history).

"This record provides the basis for a dramatic improvement in existing reconstructions of volcanic emissions during recent centuries and millennia," said the report's lead author Michael Sigl, a postdoctoral fellow and specialist in DRI's unique ultra-trace ice core analytical laboratory, located on the Institute's campus in Reno, Nevada.

These reconstructions are critical to accurate model simulations used to assess past natural and anthropogenic climate forcing. Such model simulations underpin environmental policy decisions including those aimed at regulating greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions to mitigate projected global warming.

Powerful volcanic eruptions are one of the most significant causes of climate variability in the past because of the large amounts of sulfur dioxide they emit, leading to formation of microscopic particles known as volcanic sulfate aerosols. These aerosols reflect more of the sun's radiation back to space, cooling the Earth. Past volcanic events are measured through sulfate deposition records found in ice cores and have been linked to short-term global and regional cooling.

Cloud Lightning

Recent storms cover Lake Winnipeg beach with hundreds of dead birds

After Tuesday’s storm the water of Lake Winnipeg rolled up and over Patricia Beach, leaving hundreds of dead birds behind as the water receded.

Flooding isn't just taking a toll on humans and crops, it is also impacting wildlife.

After Tuesday's storm the water of Lake Winnipeg rolled up and over Patricia Beach, leaving hundreds of dead birds behind as the water receded.

Michael Almey, who owns a cottage on Patricia Beach, said the birds covered the beach.

After Tuesday's storm the water of Lake Winnipeg rolled up and over Patricia Beach, leaving hundreds of dead birds behind as the water receded.

"They were all obviously drowned, victims of the storm, the surge of the tide," said Almey.

A naturalist on site told us the baby seagulls were too young to fly away during the storm but may have survived had the storm hit a week or two later.

Residents said conservation crews plan to start clean-up Friday.

Cloud Lightning

More than a foot of hail hits the town of Almazan in Spain

© FacebookRoads were covered with hail in Almazan.
Damages 70% of the houses in Almazan

2 July 2014 The hail storm that dumped Wednesday in Almazan, Soria, has damaged 70% of the houses in this town of about 6,000 inhabitants, according to the Mayor José Antonio de Miguel.


Sea ice in Antarctic hits second all-time record in a week

© The Cryosphere TodayA graph of the latest all-time record of Southern Hemisphere sea ice area, expressed as an anomaly.
Antarctic sea ice has hit its second all-time record maximum this week. The new record is 2.112 million square kilometers above normal. Until the weekend just past, the previous record had been 1.840 million square kilometers above normal, a mark hit on December 20, 2007, as I reported here, and also covered in my book.

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, responded to e-mail questions and also spoke by telephone about the new record sea ice growth in the Southern Hemisphere, indicating that, somewhat counter-intuitively, the sea ice growth was specifically due to global warming.

"The primary reason for this is the nature of the circulation of the Southern Ocean - water heated in high southern latitudes is carried equatorward, to be replaced by colder waters upwelling from below, which inhibits ice loss," Serreze wrote in an e-mail. "Upon this natural oceanic thermostat, one will see the effects of natural climate variations, [the rise] appears to be best explained by shifts in atmospheric circulation although a number of other factors are also likely involved."

Apple Red

Early signs of autumn in UK 'already appearing in natural world'

Natural beauty: Purple Emperor butterflies, pictured, have started arriving early after Britain experienced warmer than average temperatures for seven months in a row. Autumn could soon be upon us
Sycamore seeds are well developed and hawthorn berries are already red, says National Trust

After an early spring and summer, the year is now racing towards autumn ahead of schedule, conservationists have said.

As the year reached the half-way mark, the National Trust said wildlife seemed to have come through the wettest and stormiest winter on record and nature had hurtled "helter-skelter" through the seasons since.

Now signs of autumn are already in the hedgerows and woods, National Trust naturalist Matthew Oates said.

"Looking at this year, where does it want to be? It raged its way through winter, then we went into an incredibly early spring, and then it rushed helter-skelter through spring without stopping for breath," he said.

Arrow Up

Global cooling? Great Lakes water levels rising - Scientists 'startled'

Lake Michigan
© Mark Kauzlarich/The New York Times Dylan Drephal and Bryan Townsend fishing for smallmouth bass in mid-June along the Lake Michigan shore north of Ephraim, Wis., where the water is at least a foot higher than it was a year ago.
Another global warming prediction bites the dust

The National Wildlife Federation recently warned that "Lake Erie water levels, already below average, could drop 4-5 feet by the end of this century." The announcement also warned, in a section entitled "Threats from Global Warming," that "within another 30 years Lake Superior may be mostly ice-free in a typical winter."

On Thursday, Huffington Post Canada observed that "the (Great Lakes) basin has experienced the longest extended period of lower water levels since the U.S. and Canada began tracking levels in 1918." The article blamed the lower water levels on "climate change," of course.

On, Friday, Julie Bosman at the New York Times reported a new 5-year study that concluded that "water levels in the lakes were likely to drop even farther, in part because of the lack of precipitation in recent years brought on by climate change."

Uh huh. Except that Great Lakes water levels are rising. A lot.

Ice Cube

Ice age reboot: Ocean current shutdown viewed as culprit

thermohaline circulation
© NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization StudioThe thermohaline circulation is a global ocean current that redistributes warm surface water and cold, dense deep water.
A dramatic slowdown in deep ocean currents matches a major reset in Earth's ice ages about 1 million years ago, new evidence from the South Atlantic seafloor suggests.

The discovery doesn't mean the ocean current stall-out is the only culprit behind the change in Earth's incessant ice ages, the study authors said. However, the findings provide new evidence that Earth's oceans can significantly alter its climate.

"We cannot tell for sure what broke the cycle," said lead study author Leopoldo Pena of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. "Our evidence shows the oceans played a major role."

For unknown reasons, about 950,000 years ago, Earth's ice age cycles suddenly lengthened, from 41,000 years to 100,000 years. The planet's thermostat was tweaked at the same time, with ice ages growing colder than before.

Comment: We are seeing similar type disruption of Ocean Currents

Life on this Earth Just Changed: The North Atlantic Current is Gone

Wake The World Up Campaign

Ice Cube

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare Arctic Beluga whale seen in Massachusetts

© A. Lyskin IFAWA Beluga whale sighted in the Taunton River.
In Connecticut, we're used to seeing Beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, but residents in Fall River, Massachusetts are getting an unusual sight in an unusual place. A Beluga whale was spotted in the Taunton River over the past several days.

"It's very rare to see a Beluga by itself this far south," Dr. Tracy Romano of Mystic Aquarium told WNPR. "It was last sighted here a week ago, on the 18th."

Romano, Mystic Aquarium's Executive Vice President of Research and Zoological Operations, is leading the team while it looks for the whale in the Taunton River. She said Belugas prefer Arctic and sub-arctic waters, and travel in pods. "This unusual sighting in our own back yard is anomalous behavior for a Beluga," she said, "and we would like to find out why."