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Wed, 27 Oct 2021
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Cold wave grips North India bringing worst fog in years

Delhi fog
© PTI Photo
With dense fog enveloping the IGI Airport, the visibility dropped below the mandatory 50 metres.
Following the worst fog of the last eight years, Delhi government on Monday announced leave for all schools here from January 07 to 11.

Due to fall in the temperature and dense fog today morning, air, road and rail traffic in the national capital was badly effected.

Fog and cold wave hit normal life here as the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) airport was forced to shut down partially for around three hours early today after extremely poor visibility on the runway.

Ice Cube

Time magazine 2014: Global Warming driving historic cold

It's polar bear weather today for much of the Midwest. Temperatures are in the -20sº F (-28º C) and -30sº F (-35º C) in eastern Montana, North Dakota, northeast South Dakota, Minnesota and northern Iowa. With the stiff wind, it's even worse - wind chills in the -40sº F (-40º C) and -50sº F (-45º C) are common across Minnesota and North Dakota, cold enough for exposed skin to suffer frostbite in just five minutes. By tonight, the freeze will reach the East Coast, where temperatures from Florida to Maine are expected to be 30º F to 40º F (16º C to 22º C) degrees below normal, extremes that haven't been seen in decades. The National Weather Service isn't kidding when it calls the cold "life-threatening."

Unsurprisingly, the extreme cold has brought out the climate change skeptics, who point to the freeze and the recent snowstorms and say, essentially, "nyah-nyah." Now this is where I would usually point to the fact that the occasional cold snap - even one as extreme as much of the U.S. is experiencing now - doesn't change the overall trajectory of a warming planet. Weather is what happens in the atmosphere day to day; climate is how the atmosphere behaves over long periods of time. Winters in the U.S. have been warming steadily over the past century, and even faster in recent decades, so it would take more than a few sub-zero days to cancel that out.

But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely. Right now much of the U.S. is in the grip of a polar vortex, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a whirlwind of extremely cold, extremely dense air that forms near the poles. Usually the fast winds in the vortex - which can top 100 mph (161 k/h) - keep that cold air locked up in the Arctic. But when the winds weaken, the vortex can begin to wobble like a drunk on his fourth martini, and the Arctic air can escape and spill southward, bringing Arctic weather with it. In this case, nearly the entire polar vortex has tumbled southward, leading to record-breaking cold, as you can see in this weatherbell.com graphic:
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Ice Cube

Time magazine 1974: Another Ice Age?

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In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada's wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest. Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs. A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have recently experienced the mildest winters within anyone's recollection.

As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

Telltale signs are everywhere - from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.

Igloo

1999 - Scientists were using the polar vortex as a way to raise money for Arctic ozone hole research

In 1999, scientists were using the polar vortex as a way to raise money for Arctic ozone hole research.
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Eugene Register-Guard - Google News Archive Search

Ice Cube

1994 - Polar Vortex came during a cold year due to eruption of Mt. Pinatubo

1994 was a cold year, due largely to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. That year also had a lot of Arctic ice. There was a similar polar vortex cold outbreak during that year, and no one was stupid enough to blame it on global warming.
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The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search

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.