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Thu, 22 Apr 2021
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Extreme Temperatures

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Public schools close in Midwest due to record breaking temperatures

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© Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune/Getty Images

More than 800,000 Minnesota students will not be going to school Monday after the governor decided to close public schools statewide due to a cold front with bone-chilling temperatures not seen in nearly a decade.

Gov. Mark Dayton made the decision to close all public schools from K through 12 on Friday afternoon, after temperatures were estimated to reach as low as minus 30 degrees and wind chills as low as minus 50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The decision has influenced other state officials across the Midwest to consider similar measures, with some already taking action.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has cancelled school for Milwaukee students on Monday, and is now considering closing schools statewide. Education officials in West Michigan have agreed to close schools if wind chills reach anywhere from minus 15 to minus 30, according to MLive. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple's office said closures for the whole state aren't likely, and that further decisions will be left up to the superintendents of each county, according to Valley News Live.

Boat

USA to the rescue! U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker asked to assist Antarctic rescue vessels trapped in ice due to #spiritofmawson fiasco

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© World Maritime News
U.S. Coast Guard's Polar Star
US Coast Guard ice breaker to assist ships beset in ice in Antarctica


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has requested the US Coast Guard's Polar Star icebreaker to assist the vessels MV Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long which are beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay.

The US Coast Guard has accepted this request and will make Polar Star available to assist.

The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since 3 December, 2013 - weeks prior to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay. The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation's Scientific Research Station. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue incident is resolved.

RCC Australia identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the beset vessels following MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice overnight on 24 December, 2013. RCC Australia has been in discussion with the US Coast Guard this week to ascertain if the Polar Star was able to assist once it reaches Antarctica.

The request for the Polar Star to assist the beset vessels was made by RCC Australia to the US Coast Guard on 3 January, 2014. The US Coast Guard officially accepted this request and released the Polar Star to RCC Australia for search and rescue tasking at 8.30am on 4 January, 2014.

The Polar Star will leave Sydney today after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.

Ice Cube

Frozen in time: Michigan lighthouses transformed into stunning giant icicles after being frozen solid by storm

These frozen lighthouses in Michigan could easily be mistaken for a scene from the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.

Standing in temperatures well below freezing, the 30ft structures have been transformed into giant icicles.

These stunning photographs were captured by American photographer Thomas Zakowski, 56, on a trip to two cities in Michigan after a storm battered the state.

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Entombed by the weather: This lighthouse in Michigan resembles a giant icicle after crashing waves were frozen around it by a severe winter storm
Mr Zakowski, from South Bend, Indiana, said: 'The lighthouses were frozen solid by the waves that came crashing down against the pier.

'What made the photograph of one of them so interesting was the fact that the storm was so intense it uplifted the anchors of the scaffolding which had been left there after painting.

Magic Hat

Turney Backpedals! Now Says Getting Stuck In Sea Ice "NOT Due To Climate Change"!

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© RocketNews
Professor Chris Turney
It appears that now even Professor Chris Turney admits blaming his expedition mishap on global warming was an astronomical stretch after all.

Yesterday I reported here, quoting flagship Swiss Daily (NZZ), that his communication director Alvin Stone blamed global warming for the vessel getting trapped in ice. The whole world laughed.

I couldn't believe it myself so I wrote an e-mail to Stone asking if they really believed this.

Stone answered circa 9 hours later:
Dear Pierre,

That is not quite the quote that I gave.

This is my understanding from talking to Chris and other glaciologists.
  • The 120km long ice berg B09B that is grounded in Commonwealth Bay broke away from the continent three years ago, very likely as a result of climate change.
  • B09B collided with the Mertz Glacier, smashing a large ice tongue that released the ice into that area.
  • It was a mix of this ice that was blown across the path of the Shokalskiy, which led to it being trapped and explains why much of the ice surrounding the ship is old ice.
Chris discusses the situation in a blog entry, here.

I believe you are probably aware of a number of papers this year that show land ice on Antarctica is in decline and that only seasonal sea ice has been expanding, likely due to the increase in westerly winds and potentially because of the decrease in salinity.

Thanks for your interest.

Ice Cube

The coldest winter in America in 20 years: Al Gore's stupidest global warming quotes

Snowed in truck
© unknown
America could actually use some global warming right about now. It is being projected that low temperatures across the Midwest could be 30 to 50 degrees below average on Monday morning. On Sunday, fans that attempted to tailgate before the playoff game between the 49ers and the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin were discovering that their beers were actually turning to ice before they could drink them. That is cold. But things are going to get really chilly when nightfall arrives. In fact, it is being projected that much of the nation will experience wind chill temperatures of more than 40 degrees below zero, and wind chill temperatures of more than 50 degrees below zero are expected in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota.

The weather is expected to be so cold that the governor of Minnesota has actually decided to close public schools statewide on Monday. The last time that happened was back in 1997. The reason why the governor of Minnesota did this is because when temperatures get this low they can literally be life threatening. When wind chill temperatures get down to about 50 below zero, if your skin is exposed you can literally develop frostbite in about five minutes. This is being called the coldest day in America in 20 years, and these cold temperatures have many Americans wondering what ever happened to all of that "global warming" that Al Gore and other "climate scientists" have been warning us about for so many years.

If the planet really is getting significantly warmer, our winters should not be like this. Back in the year 2000, one prominent "climate scientist" boldly declared that future generations of children "just aren't going to know what snow is."

Oh really?

Books

Rescue efforts for trapped Antarctic voyage disrupt serious science

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© Andrew Peacock/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An image from one of the passengers of the Akademik Shokalskiy shows the Russian research ship icebound off Antarctica.
Early this morning, I received an e-mail message from one of many polar scientists whose important and costly field research in Antarctica has been seriously disrupted by the diversion of icebreakers to try to evacuate the journalists, tourists, crew and scientists on an unessential "expedition" aboard a chartered Russian ship.

You can read the note - from Joe McConnell, an American ice-sheet researcher I met in 2004 in Greenland - after a summary of the situation.

Of course the evacuation of the trapped ship, which will require helicopters given the impassible nature of the thick sea ice in the area, is vital. But when you consider the cost and risk attending the operation, and the impact on other science, this raises questions about the advisability of this voyage in the first place.

If you follow the discussion around #SpiritOfMawson - the Twitter hashtag for the project - you'll also note how this misadventure has energized climate change contrarians, offering a distraction from serious research on the impact of climate change on Antarctica.

The Spirit of Mawson expedition - a mashup of adventure travel, media event and science - was billed this way by organizers:
The Australasian Antarctic Expedition will truly meld science and adventure, repeating century old measurements to discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment.
On the website, the planners included a long justification of the trip on the basis of the science that would be undertaken. The prime goal was a fresh assessment of ice, ocean and ecological conditions on the stretch of Antarctic coast south of Australia and New Zealand a century after an arduous expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson did the same. In 2012, Smithsonian ran a great piece on that effort, "The Most Terrible Polar Exploration Ever: Douglas Mawson's Antarctic Journey."

Igloo

'Life-threatening' cold bites US Midwest, heads east

South Bronx
© Reuters/Mike Segar
A woman and her son make their way up a snow covered sidewalk in the South Bronx section of New York City, January 3, 2014.

As the Midwestern United States shivered through the region's lowest temperatures in two decades and forecasters warned that life-threatening cold was heading eastward, officials in Chicago and other districts said schools would be closed on Monday.

Icy conditions snarled travel across the Midwest and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed, days after the Northeast was hammered by the first winter storm of the season.

"The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central U.S. today behind an arctic cold front," the National Weather Service said on Sunday. "Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit/minus 51 degrees Celsius)."

In weather that cold, frostbite can set in on uncovered skin in a matter of minutes, experts warned. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton ordered all public schools in the state closed on Monday to protect children from dangerously cold weather. Chicago public schools followed suit - reversing an earlier decision - saying in a statement on its website that it would be dangerous for children to commute to school amid sub-zero temperatures and high winds.

The NWS said the widespread chill was a result of a relatively infrequent alignment of weather conditions, allowing the Arctic polar vortex to be displaced unusually far south.

"The weather pattern across North America right now is set up to be very favorable for the southward transport of Arctic air," said Bob Oravec, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

"It's not going to be long-lived," he added. "By the end of the week the temperatures definitely start to moderate across the whole of the country."

Comet 2

Oceans to Ice: Marine diatoms found in Greenland ice core suggests pummeled planet in 530′s AD

Earlier abstract

Link to current abstract

Dallas Abbott 2013 PP on 530′s Event and Marine Diatoms in GISP2 Ice Core by George Howard


Snowflake

Latest storm likely to make the 2010s the snowiest decade in the East Coast in the NOAA record

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© Lagforce Productions
Snow in Boston
Via Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo

http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/latest_storm_likely_to_make_2010s_snowiest_decade_in_noaa_nesis_data_base/

Latest storm likely to make the 2010s the snowiest decade in the east in the NOAA record
By Joseph D'Aleo, CCM (Certified Consulting Meteorologist)

It was quite a storm. I have never seen Logan Airport report heavy snow with an air temperature of 1F (not wind chill) before. The ended up with 15.1 inches. Boxford had 23.8 inches.

Even as more cold and snow invades the central, near the east coast, the post storm blues have set in with the inevitability of an inside runner following rapidly on its heels. But snow loving friends, we have lived through quite a decade and the millennium so far has been a boon to snow lovers despite the continuing claims that snows are becoming rare and hurting winter sports as erroneously reported last week in Boston Magazine.

We here are using NOAA's own NESIS scale - which we used to call the Kocin/Uccellini storms.

Boat

Fresh Antarctic drama as Xue Long is trapped but Aurora Australis leaves

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© Jessica Fitzpatrick/AFP/Getty Images
The Chinese Antarctic vessel Xue Long seen from the bridge of the Aurora Australis earlier in the week.
The Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue passengers from the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy is itself pinned by the ice

The Chinese ship that freed dozens of people from a Russian vessel stricken in the Antarctic has itself become trapped by ice.

The Xue Long on Friday night informed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) that the ship had become beset by thick ice, but said the ship and crew were not in danger and had food supplies to last several weeks.

The Chinese ship's helicopter was used in a seven-hour operation to transfer 52 people from the ice-stricken Akademik Shokalskiy to the Australian ship Aurora Australis on Thursday.

Comment: What a complete farce!