Extreme Temperatures


Melting Scandinavian glaciers offer clues to Younger Dryas mystery

Melting Glacier
© Flickr/Vincent MoschettiA combination of fossilised midges and climate modelling suggest that melting ice sheets in Scandinavia triggered a dramatic 1,000-year long cold snap in Europe 12,800 years ago.
Temporary and extreme climate changes punctuated the warming of the Northern Hemisphere as the Earth escaped the icy grip of the last Ice Age.

One such event occurred 12,800 years ago--the so-called Younger Dryas--when Europe was suddenly plunged back into near-Ice Age conditions. The ensuing cold struck Europe and Russia quickly, and hard. But how and why remained a mystery.

Now, a new study has an answer: melting glaciers in Scandinavia set key environmental changes in motion and initiated this dramatic 1,000-year long cold snap.

"The Fennoscandian Ice Sheet in Northern Europe has always been considered an underdog [compared to ice sheets in Greenland and north America] and has received little or no attention in the specialised literature," says lead-author Francesco Muschitiello from Stockholm University, Sweden in an email to ScienceNordic.

But Muschitiello's new research puts the Scandinavian ice sheet at the heart of the mystery. According to him, it is the missing link to understanding this major climate event, which is a key benchmark to understanding how climate can change so suddenly.

The results are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Snowflake Cold

Powerful blizzard rages in Khabarovsk, Russia

Whoa! This video reminds me why global warming is GOOD! Visibility near zero. More than 300 cars rescued from "snow captivity."

In the Khabarovsk region continues to rage snow cyclone.

All services Khabarovsk work around the clock.

The powerful blizzard, with storm gusts up to 25 meters per second, has dumped a month's worth of precipitation per day.

The city of Khabarovsk has declared a state of emergency according to the "TV Center".

Khabarovsk a city of just over a half million near the Chinese border.

Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for this link

Ice Cube

Hudson Bay already 50% covered in ice compared to 0% a year ago

Ice, snow cover north America
© National Ice Center (NIC). Alaska-Canada snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 28 November 2014 (left) and 2015 (right).
Canadian lakes, other than the 'Great Lakes', have started to ice over.

Snow cover in Europe and Asia is also much more extensive than at this time last year

Ice, snow cover Eurasia
© National Ice Center (NIC).Europe-Asia snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 28 November 2014 (left) and 2015 (right).
Thanks to Deon Leroux for this link

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall covers Turkey's east

Turkey snow
The Central Anatolian city of Sivas was quickly covered by heavy snow on Wednesday. There has also been snowfall in the capital, Ankara. (Photo: Cihan)
Affected by a cold front moving from the Black Sea, eastern province of Erzurum saw snowfall as of late Wednesday, paralyzing daily life on Thursday.

A number of villages were closed to traffic and temperatures dropped to -2 degree. People had difficulty in reaching the city center from nearby provinces. Municipal teams have been spreading salt on the roads and removing snow on the pavements.

According to the Meteorology Directorate, the snowfall will be ongoing for two days. the depth of snow reached 37 centimeters in higher parts of Palandöken Mountain.


Record December depth of snow for Reykjavik, Iceland

Snow on bench in park
© Gúna
Residents of Icelandic capital Reykjavik woke up to 42 cm (16.5 inches) of snow this morning - the highest depth of snow in December since records began.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, the previous record was set back in 2011, when snow lay 33 cm (13 inches) deep in Reykjavik on 29 December that year.

The highest ever depth of snow recorded in in Reykjavik was 55 cm (21.5 inches) back in January 1937, and if snows continues to fall on the city, this record might also be broken - and soon.

Now at 42 cm, snow levels in Reykjavik were 32 cm just four days ago on Saturday.


Snowfall record for Sioux Falls, South Dakota

© Joe Ahlquist / Argus LeaderA city of Sioux Falls truck clears 14th Street during a winter storm Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls set a snowfall record for the second time this month Monday.

The National Weather Service reported that 8 inches of snow had fallen at the Sioux Falls airport by 9 p.m., beating the old record of 7.4 inches set in 1954. The NWS said more than 3 inches were possible to fall in the city by noon Tuesday.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until Tuesday night.

Parts of Sioux Falls shattered the previous record at the airport on Nov. 20 when 14 inches fell in the southern part of the city. Tea reported 18 inches that day.

Snowflake Cold

California freezin': Below-zero temperatures in the Sierras; another storm on the way

© LA TimesA series of winter storms have dumped large amounts of snow in the Sierra, and several counties are under freeze warnings through the weekend.
A deep freeze in California's Sierra is continuing, with one spot east of Redding recording minus-11 degrees.

An earlier version of this article said the low in California was minus-14. It was actually minus-11, according to the National Weather Service.

According to the National Weather Service, the Bogard Rest Area in the Lassen National Forest recorded that frigid temperature between Friday night and Saturday morning. The rest area is north of Susanville.

A few other mountain areas posted below-zero temperatures overnight. A series of winter storms have dumped large amounts of snow in the Sierra, with some places receiving more than 20 inches. The NWS said another storm could move in by Thursday.

A good blanket of snow is now sticking to the ground across the mountain range, according to the weather service. The cold temperatures are good news for ski resorts, which are off to a strong seasonal start after several years of drought conditions.

A freeze warning was in place in the Sacramento Valley for Sunday. Officials warned residents to protect outdoor plants and pipes.

Ice Cube

Beijing bracing itself for record breaking cold

Cold day in Beijing
© China News ServiceNovember 22 was recorded as Beijing's coldest day in over 1,000 days, leading some meteorologists to expect record breaking cold in the region.
Beijing could be set to experience record breaking cold this week, with temperatures set to drop to their lowest November levels since modern records began, reports China News Service.

Northern China's coldest November temperatures on record were minus 12.3 degrees Celsius on November 30, 1970. That record could be broken however with Sunday recorded as Beijing's coldest day in over 1,000 days.

After blizzard conditions on November 22, Beijing had temporary snow again on Tuesday, leading to frozen roads and cold weather warning announcements from authorities.

Peak daytime temperatures in Beijing this week are likely to stay under zero degrees, according to weather forecasts. Meteorologists have estimated that temperatures on November 26 and 27 will hit minus 12 degrees and possibly lower.

CNN reports that the conditions saw more than 200 flights cancelled in Beijing, as well as the closure of schools and roads.

Ice Cube

Huge ice circle forms in Swedish river

© Torgny JohanssonThe ice circle in the River Kalix in northern Sweden.
A Swedish man has described his luck after his picture of a peculiar natural phenomenon in an icy river in the far north of the country hit the headlines in Sweden on Monday.

Torgny Johansson spoke to The Local a day after he snapped the picture of the enormous ice circle floating in the Kalix River at Forsbyn, 75 kilometres north of Luleå, using his drone.

"I have seen one maybe two or three times before near the same place as this one. But nothing as large as this," he said.

Ice circles are formed in slow-moving areas of rivers where a part of the current moves in the opposite direction to the main stream, a so-called 'backstream'.

When the water freezes the circling currents form an ice disc.

Snowflake Cold

Deepest November snow for over 60 years in Sapporo, Japan

© GettySapporo is used to deep snow, but not in November
Residents of northern Japan were surprised by an early blast of winter this week as sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow combined to cover much of Hokkaido with a white winter duvet.

One resident of the prefecture capital, Sapporo, said: "It's a lot, a lot! Last year it snowed around November 8 but it was nothing like this".

In this northern prefecture of Hokkaido, the lavender fields of Furano saw temperatures on Wednesday night drop to minus 21 degrees Celsius. On the same night in Sapporo, the temperature fell to minus 7C.

Sapporo first dropped below freezing on Monday night, with snow started falling in the early hours of Tuesday.

Comment: See also: Russia's port city of Vladivostok hit by icy tempest