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Wed, 20 Oct 2021
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Polar vortices have been around forever - they have almost nothing to do with more CO2 in the atmosphere

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© NOAA/NASA
Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer rejected the media and some scientists claims that the record U.S. cold is due to man-made global warming. Happer, explained the science in an exclusive interview with Climate Depot:

"Polar vortices have been around forever. They have almost nothing to do with more CO2 in the atmosphere," Happer said in an exclusive interview with Climate Depot.

Happer continued: "Here is a thumbnail sketch of the physics. The poles have little sunshine even in summer, but especially in winter, like now in the Arctic. So the air over the poles rapidly gets bitterly cold because of radiation to dark space, with negligible replenishment of heat from sunlight. The sinking cold air is replaced by warmer air flowing in from the south at high altitudes. Since the earth is rotating, the air flowing in from the south has to start rotating faster to the west, just like a figure skater rotates faster if she pulls in her arms. This forms the polar vortex. The extremely cold air at the bottom of the vortex can be carried south by meanders of the jet stream at the edge of the vortex. We will have to live with polar vortices as long as the sun shines and the earth rotates.

Like any fluid system at "high Reynolds number," the jet stream is highly unstable, and from time to time it develops meanders to low latitudes, like the one we have had the past few days. About this time of year in 1777, just before the Battle of Princeton, there was a similar sequence. On January 2, Cornwallis's men marched south from New York City through cold rain and muddy roads to try to trap George Washington and his little Continental Army in Trenton . On the night of January 2-3, a polar vortex swept across New Jersey, with snow and a very hard freeze. Aided by the extremely cold weather, Washington was able to evacuate his troops and artillery over newly frozen roads and to avoid Cornwallis's encirclement. Reaching Princeton on the viciously cold morning of January 3, Washington won another battle against the British and escaped to winter quarters in Morristown. Thank you polar vortex!

Attention

Review of extreme weather and cosmic events on Earth in 2013 (VIDEO)

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Record heatwaves and wildfires, widespread and severe flooding, massive sinkholes swallowing buildings and people, mass animal deaths, an asteroid exploding over Russia, thousands more fireballs lighting up the sky throughout the year, record-breaking blizzards snowfall, the coldest northern spring in 100 years, massive landslides, 'rare' tornadoes occurring in places they shouldn't, the widest tornado ever observed, more volcanic eruptions, more major earthquakes forming new islands, the strongest tropical storm in recorded history, successive hurricanes in Europe, the coldest temperature ever recorded, snow in Cairo... these are signs of climate change, aka Earth Changes.

Welcome to the new normal.


Snowflake Cold

Mother nature strikes back: Fracking stopped due to cold

snowstorm 2014 canada
© Darren Hauck / Reuters
The severe cold weather sweeping across the mid-United States is threatening to curtail booming oil production as it disrupts traffic, strands wells and interrupts drilling and fracking operations.

Weather stations across the U.S. Midwest recorded some of the coldest temperatures in two decades this weekend, with many schools closed and flights delayed. Arctic cold air is also spreading across Texas on Monday with temperatures expected to drop to single digits in the morning.

Output in North Dakota, the second-largest oil producing state, usually ebbs in winter as producers scale back on drilling and well completion services such as fracking, which pumps a slurry of water, sand and chemicals into wells.

But analysts are bracing for a possibly worse than usual impact on output from the state, that could affect operations of companies such as Continental Resources, Marathon Oil and Hess Energy. The companies did not immediately reply to questions about operations on Monday.

"It is so cold that they cannot produce at full capacity, if at all. That should support prices," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Boat

Rescue saga: U.S. ship heads to free two trapped icebreakers in Antarctic

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© Reuters / US Coast Guard / Petty Officer 3rd Class Rachel
Polar Star, the US Coast Guard icebreaker, completes ice drills in the Arctic in this July 3, 2013 handout photo.
American vessel the Polar Star, the US Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, is heading to the Antarctic to rescue over 120 crewmembers aboard Russian and Chinese ships trapped in heavy sea ice.

According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre (AMSA), it should take the Polar Star about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather conditions.

The 122-meter US icebreaker canceled its planned stop in Sydney after it received a request Friday from Australia, Russia and China to help the Russian and Chinese ships, who fear they may be unable to free themselves from the ice.

According to an AMSA spokeswoman, the US ship has greater icebreaking capacity than the Russian and Chinese vessels.

"It can break ice over six meters thick, while those vessels can break 1-meter ice," she told Australian Associated Press on Sunday.

Airplane

JetBlue halts all flights to and from Boston, New York and New Jersey

jetblue flights
JetBlue has halted flights to and from Boston, New York City and Newark to allow them to get flights back on track.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Monday, JetBlue reduced operations at Boston's Logan Airport, New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports and New Jersey's Newark Airport.

The shutdown affects 300 JetBlue flights at the four airports.

By 5 p.m., all flights were shut down and will remained stopped until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, flights will gradually ramp up again, the company said in a statement.

Igloo

Chicago is colder than the South Pole

Chicago 2014 snowstorm
© Flickr/CharlesB
Dozens of schools and institutions will be closed Monday in anticipation of subzero temperatures.
The wind chill hit 40 degrees below zero Monday morning at O'Hare Airport, and the extreme cold is expected to stick around for the next couple of days, meteorologists said.

At midnight, the temperature at O'Hare was 3 degrees below zero, which is the warmest temperature the city is likely to see throughout the entire day, National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said.

A temperature of 16 degrees below zero was measured at O'Hare Airport later in the morning, breaking the record of 14 below zero set twice in 1884 and 1988 on Jan. 6, according to the National Weather Service.

That's colder than the South Pole in Antarctica, where the temperature was recorded at 11 degrees below zero at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station before 8 a.m. It was also colder than Novosibirsk, a city in southwest Siberia, which was 6 degrees below zero, according to the Weather Channel.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Chicago by the National Weather Service was 27 degrees below zero on Jan. 20, 1985.

Igloo

Shockingly cold 'polar vortex' moves into Midwest

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© Hunter Hohlfeld
Frozen Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Frigid, dense air swirled across much of the U.S. on Monday, forcing some cities and their residents into hibernation while others layered up and carried on despite a dangerous cold that broke decades-old records.

Wind chill warnings stretched from Montana to Alabama. For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures moved in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: Wind chills were expected to drop as low as negative 55 Monday night in International Falls, Minn., and rebound to minus 25 to minus 35 on Tuesday. Farther south, the wind chill is expected to hit negative 50 in Chicago and minus 35 in Detroit.

School systems and day cares shut down as a precaution from the Dakotas to Maryland. But whether residents chose to stay home or head outside appeared to have less to do with the mercury and more with conditioning.

Emeric Dwyer of St. Paul wore only a London Fog trenchcoat and light scarf to protect himself from morning temperatures that got down to minus 20 in the Twin Cities. The 30-year-old was just glad his car started.

"It made a grinding noise I never heard before. But it started and got us here. Not too much to complain about," said Dwyer, who is originally from Duluth in the northern part of the state.

2 + 2 = 4

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.