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Wrong place, wrong time: Rare Arctic Ross's Gull seen in Devon, UK

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I was late rising this morning and when the phone rang and rang and then rang again I wa quite certain that there must be a special bird about. I was right, Dave Stone excitedly told me that there was a Ross's Gull at Bowling Green Marsh. Ross's Gull is an extreme rarity here in Devon and this one is in fact the first record for the Exe Estuary and one of just a handful ever recorded in the county. I dont particularly like these "twitches" being a a bit of a contradiction to what I like about about wildlife watching but if you want to see really rare birds then needs must.

Ross's Gull is a small gull which is an Arctic breeder and named after a Naval Officer, James Ross. It is a true bird of the far north and breeds in the north of Siberia and the North American continent in Northern Canada. When it has finished breeding it then flies even further north. Quite how this one came to be here in the South West of the UK is one of those mysteries that can never be solved. This lonely individual is a young, non-breeding bird in it's second year. I was expecting to see a much more attractively marked bird and have to confess to some disappointment in this regard. The legs are fleshy red and the beak is delicate and solidly black. The tail is distinctive in flight being wedge shaped with a noticeable blackish band on the end. As a young bird it has black markings on the wings reminiscent of a LIttle Gull. Adult birds lack these markings but in the summer and in breeding plumage, have a noticeable black band around the neck and also have a pinkish suffusion on the breast. This bird was feeding on small flying insects around one of the pools on Bowling Green Marsh which is apparently typical behaviour.

Snowflake

Lake Superior breaks record with ice still around

It is now the month of June and there is still ice hovering on the southern shores of Lake Superior making it now the latest this much ice has been on the lake this late in the season. The last time ice was around this late into the year was back in 2003 when the frozen water finally melted on May 29th. Here is what the shores of northern Michigan looked like on Saturday...
Lake superior ice
© @LAKSuperiorFoto
Lake Superior May, 31th 2014.
Ice has all collected on the southern end of the lake and can be seen by satellite image... this one taken this past Thursday

Cow

60,000 cattle die during cold weather in Bolivia

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Cold wave in Bolivia
The Cattle Raisers Federation in the northeastern Bolivian province of Beni reported Thursday that at least 60,000 head of livestock have died due to the cold wave that has beset the Andean nation for a week.

Federation director Carmelo Arteaga said that the situation "is desperate" and added that the sector needs $1 billion to repurchase the cattle that have been lost and to create the conditions to face natural disasters, radio Erbol reported.

Beni, Bolivia's main beef-producing province, was one of those most affected by serious flooding registered in the country between October and March, when thousands of head of cattle also perished.

Snowflake Cold

The End Holocene?

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© Uknown
The Antithesis

You know, in science, there was once this thing we called the Theory of Multiple Working Hypotheses. Anathema (a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication) in modern climate science. So, in juxtaposition to the hypothesis of future global climate disruption from CO2, a scientist might well consider an antithesis or two in order to maintain ones objectivity.

One such antithesis, which happens to be a long running debate in paleoclimate science, concerns the end Holocene. Or just how long the present interglacial will last.

Looking at orbital mechanics and model results, Loutre and Berger (2003) in a landmark paper (meaning a widely quoted and discussed paper) for the time predicted that the current interglacial, the Holocene, might very well last another 50,000 years, particularly if CO2 were factored in. This would make the Holocene the longest lived interglacial since the onset of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciations some 2.8 million years ago. Five of the last 6 interglacials have each lasted about half of a precession cycle. The precession cycle varies from 19-23k years, and we are at the 23kyr part of the range now, making 11,500 years half, which is also the present age of the Holocene.

Which is why this discussion has relevance.

But what about that 6th interglacial, the one that wasn't on the half-precessional "clock". That would be MIS-11 (or the Holsteinian) which according to the most recently published estimate may have lasted on the order of 20-22kyrs, with the longest estimate ranging up to 32kyrs.

Loutre and Berger's 2003 paper was soon followed by another landmark paper by Lisieki and Raymo (Oceanography, 2005), an exhaustive look at 57 globally distributed deep Ocean Drilling Project (and other) cores (Figure 1), which stated:
"Recent research has focused on MIS 11 as a possible analog for the present interglacial [e.g., Loutre and Berger, 2003; EPICA community members, 2004] because both occur during times of low eccentricity. The LR04 age model establishes that MIS 11 spans two precession cycles, with 18O values below 3.6o/oo for 20 kyr, from 398-418 ka. In comparison, stages 9 and 5 remained below 3.6o/oo for 13 and 12 kyr, respectively, and the Holocene interglacial has lasted 11 kyr so far. In the LR04 age model, the average LSR of 29 sites is the same from 398-418 ka as from 250-650 ka; consequently, stage 11 is unlikely to be artificially stretched. However, the June 21 insolation minimum at 65N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a 'double precession-cycle' interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence."
Figure 1

Figure 1. The past 5 million years of climate from 57 globally distributed sediment cores. (a general definition of an interglacial since the MPT is the oxygen 18/oxygen 16 isotope ratio must drop to 3.6 parts per mil)

Ice Cube

Despite hot weather water pipes remain frozen in Winnipeg

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The high in Winnipeg Tuesday was 26 C, but some are still suffering from what can only be described as a winter hangover.

"It's been an experience. It's been quite an experience and we're just waiting for this experience to end," said Aynsley O'Donovan, a Winnipeg resident who's had frozen pipes for 11 weeks. "It's about time we get our water back."

O'Donovan is among the nearly 500 property owners around the city in a similar situation. Although lucky enough to be hooked up to her neighbour's water, she still has no idea when she'll be using her own water again.

The problem: the frost is still more than a metre deep in places and now the city says all pipes won't be thawed until at least the end of June.

O'Dononvan knows you can't control mother nature but a lack of communication from the city is something that can be fixed.


Snowflake

Summer in Europe? Snow and mist in the Alps during the Giro d'Italia

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© Fabio Ferrari/AP Photo
Movistar team cyclists lead the pack as they climb through fog and snow during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, Italy, May 27, 2014.
A dramatic mountain finish in today's stage of the Giro d'Italia, coupled with brutal weather conditions in the Italian Alps, is prompting some cycling enthusiasts to dub this one of the most epic stages in recent cycling history.

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana's win through mist and snow-banked roads in Stage 16 of the 21-day tour propelled him into the overall lead.

Quintana, 24, known for his prodigious climbing skills, finished 8 seconds ahead of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal on the 86-mile route, which included the legendary Gavia and Stelvio climbs.

"It was raining a lot," said Quintana, of team Movistar. "We all knew it was very dangerous."

"I went at my rhythm. I gave everything today. I was climbing well in the end," Quintana said.

Ice Cube

The likely nail in the coffin for the AGW crowd: NOAA forecasts above normal Arctic ice extent for summer 2014

This is interesting. NOAA is forecasting the months of August, September, and October of 2014 to have above normal Arctic Sea ice extent. As readers know, late September is typically the time of the Arctic Sea Ice minimum, and this year the NOAA forecast has it slightly above normal. Here is the NOAA forecast graph:

UPDATE: I no more than finished this post and NOAA had a new updated forecast for May 23rd, added below. (h/t Ric Werme)
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Newspaper

LA Times backpedals on crazy talk about Antarctica, glacier melt, sea level rise, and the Los Angeles Airport

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© California-blog.com
Planes from Los Angeles International Airport take off over the Pacific Ocean.
Below is a screencap of the "walkback" story headline in the LA Times posted late today.

This morning, about 5:30AM, I sent a short but succinct letter to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times (reproduced below) regarding the statements made yesterday by California Governor Jerry Brown saying that the LAX and SFO airports would "have to be moved" due to effects from posited sea level rise caused by melting of portions of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, some 200-800 years in the future. The claim by Governor Brown, was patently ridiculous and I wrote about it here: Governor 'Moonbeam' beclowns himself over sea level rise at LAX airport.

Fish

Winterkill strikes Grand Lake near Duluth; thousands of fish found dead

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© Dan Wilfond/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dead fish of several species are washed up along the shore of Grand Lake on Monday. Thousands of fish in the lake north of Duluth were lost to winterkill, a condition in which dissolved oxygen levels are too low for fish to survive.
The fish began piling up along the western shore of Grand Lake near Duluth on Monday, not long after the ice had gone out. Pushed by a strong east wind, thousands of dead fish washed up in reed beds and the front yards of lakeshore residents.

Perhaps as many as 35,000 fish died, said Dan Wilfond, fisheries specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at French River, although he cautioned that that was a rough estimate.

The fish, victims of winterkill -- low oxygen levels -- included sunfish, crappies, walleyes, northern pike and largemouth bass, Wilfond said.

Grand Lake, a 1,600-acre lake between Saginaw and Twig, is popular with anglers.

"It was disheartening," Wilfond said. "It was a pretty severe kill."

Tim Goeman, DNR regional fisheries supervisor at Grand Rapids, said he was not aware of other lakes across northeastern Minnesota that have suffered winterkill.

Snowflake

Snow in May in Chicago: This is not a joke - it's not global warming either

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© Megan Schmitt
Residents of the north suburbs woke up to light snow on Friday, the first time it has snowed in Chicago in May in nearly 10 years.

Snow was falling in Hoffman Estates and Deerfield around 7:30 a.m. Snow was also reported on cars in the western suburbs.

The last time is snowed in May was back on May 5, 2005, according to CBS 2′s Megan Glaros.

Any snow is unlikely to accumulate, and temperatures will rise to around 50 degrees.

Although there was snow on the ground farther to the west, between Rockford and Sycamore.

Megan Schmit sent photos during her commute to Sycamore.