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Fri, 27 Jan 2023
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake

Niigata, southern Tohoku in Japan hit by record snowfalls - 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) deep

People walk through wind and snow on Monday morning in Shibetsu, Hokkaido.
© The Yomiuri Shimbun
People walk through wind and snow on Monday morning in Shibetsu, Hokkaido.
A strong cold snap has brought record snowfalls to Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan and the southern Tohoku region. Japan's Meteorological Agency warns that more snow is coming and advises people to be on high alert for traffic disruptions and other problems.

Weather officials said that as of 5 p.m. on Monday, the snow was about 2.2 meters deep in Ohkura Village, Yamagata Prefecture, and more than 1.8 meters deep in Niigata's Uonuma City.

Tadami Town in Fukushima Prefecture had a record 1.1 meters of snow during the 24 hours through Monday morning. The town's snow accumulation reached nearly 1.6 meters as of 5 p.m. on the day.



Snowflake

Record-breaking snowfall blankets Moscow

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Heavy snowfall descended on the Russian capital on Sunday, disrupting traffic, delaying flights and leaving pavements buried with snow.

In parts of Moscow, snow piled into mounds over 30 centimetres (12 inches) high, something not usually observed until the end of winter in February, the Fobos weather centre said.

The last time a similar depth of snow was recorded in Moscow in mid-December was in 1989 and in 1993, Fobos added.


Fire

Chile heat wave exacerbates forest fires, causes public health risk

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A heat wave that has hit Chile this week with record temperatures in some areas and a lack of rainfall has intensified forest fires that have already burned more than 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres)in the South American nation.

Dozens of people have had to evacuate their homes because of the fires and the capital Santiago is under a public health alert due to a cloud of smoke, officials said on Friday.

The state-owned National Forestry Corporation (Conaf) said firefighters were currently tackling 18 fires concentrated in the country's central regions, as well as a smaller number in the south.


Snowflake

Holy plow! Nearly 30 inches of snow in Finland, Minnesota and 27 in western Duluth after 3-day storm

A Proctor resident uses a snowblower
© Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
A Proctor resident uses a snowblower to clear snow in front of his garage on First Avenue on Thursday morning.
An epic, three-day winter storm was winding down Thursday afternoon after leaving more than 2 feet of snow along the North Shore's highest hills, from western Duluth to Silver Bay and Finland.

The National Weather Service in Duluth allowed the blizzard warning for the North Shore to expire but is continuing a winter weather advisory for all of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin until 6 p.m.


Only light accumulations are expected in most areas, but snow may linger into Saturday as the massive storm system continues to move slowly up north and east out of the region.

So far it's the eighth largest 48-hour snowstorm on record in Duluth and 14th largest total snowstorm.

After the snow ends, a blast of cold is expected going into the week before Christmas.


Snowflake

Storm produced nearly 6 feet of snow in Alta, Utah - dangerous avalanche conditions exist

The Utah Avalanche Center issued a special
© Utah Avalanche Center
The Utah Avalanche Center issued a special avalanche bulletin for dangerous conditions Friday.
Utah's most recent storm officially brought as much as 71 inches, or just shy of 6 feet, of snow by the Alta lifts between Sunday and Friday mornings, according to updated information from the National Weather Service.

Snowbird Resort added 56 inches, or more than 4½ feet of snow, as well. Many mountains received multiple feet of new snow.


And while multiple days of heavy snow this week may be good for Utah's snowpack, it's creating dangerous conditions for avalanches, even at lower elevations near parking lots and trailheads.

That's according to the Utah Avalanche Center, which issued a special avalanche bulletin for "unusually dangerous avalanche conditions" on Friday. The bulletin applies to slopes facing northwest through east at all elevations, "where triggering avalanches is likely." The advisory remains in place through the weekend.


Snowflake

6 feet of snow hits pocket of Colorado, 12-foot-tall drifts reported elsewhere after 2-day blizzard

Snow drifts near the Interstate 76 Iliff exit on December 16, 2022
© Dakota McGee
Snow drifts near the Interstate 76 Iliff exit on December 16, 2022
Mapping from the National Weather Service shows big totals across the state following a blizzard that hit Colorado this week, between December 12 and 14.

While totals in the range of six to 12 inches were reported in the northeast, wind gusts created massive snow drifts and made travel very difficult. In some cases, drifts up to 12 feet deep were reported.

Meanwhile, the northern and southwest mountains got the deepest snow totals. In a very small pocket of the San Juans, near Silverton, more than 72 inches of snow was reported to have fallen between December 12 at 5 PM and December 14 at 5 PM. Around that tiny pocket, totals of 48 inches or more were reported. Elsewhere, some parts of the northern mountains got more than two feet during the same period.


Ice Cube

Rarely seen 'ice pancakes' form on rivers in Scotland and England

Unusual discs of frozen slush, known as
© Callum Sinclair
Unusual discs of frozen slush, known as "ice pancakes," were recently spotted on the River Bladnoch in Scotland. The rare structures were created by unusually cold temperatures in the U.K.
Dozens of eerily perfect circles of slushy ice, known as "ice pancakes," have been floating on the surface of a Scottish river after temperatures in the U.K. unexpectedly plummeted.

Callum Sinclair, project manager for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI), spotted the stunning circular sheets of ice Dec. 9 on the River Bladnoch in Wigtownshire, Scotland. Pictures of the peculiar pancakes taken by Sinclair were shared on the SISI Twitter page on Dec. 13, along with a short video of the icy discs bumping into one another and being washed downstream by fast-moving currents.

"I've seen ice pancakes occasionally before," Sinclair told Live Science in an email. "But these were particularly interesting" because of their perfect shape, he added.


Comment: Another video record :
Pancake ice on the River Exe, Tiverton!

16 December 2022, Tiverton, Devon, UK

Pancake ice is a form of sea ice that consists of round pieces of ice with diameters ranging from 30 centimetres (12 in) to 3 metres (9.8 ft) and thicknesses up to 10 centimetres (3.9 inches), depending on the local conditions. It forms as a result of wave action on slush or ice rind.




Ice Cube

Eco activists fail to glue themselves to road due to cold weather

The Daily Mail headlines it: 'Eco-mob's global warming protest fails...because it is too COLD!' — Climate obsession can do strange things to some people. Does the phrase 'sub-zero temperatures' mean anything to them?
Munich street

The orders were simple: Run out onto the road, glue yourself to the tarmac and stop drivers from getting through, says the Daily Mail.

But for two climate activists in Germany, that plan didn't work out quite as they'd hoped because sub-zero temperatures stopped the glue from working properly in an embarrassing lack of foresight.

The 'Last Generation' activists, who were protesting against global warming, desperately poured a bucket of glue over each other before sitting stone-faced in the middle of the road in Munich this morning.

But the freezing temperature scuppered their plans and instead of being stuck to the road, the pair of protesters sat glumly amongst a pool of glue mixed with snow.

Police officers at the scene - realising that the pair were not going to be sticking around for long - dragged the protesters off the road.

Snowflake

Snow falls in Tasmania amid unseasonably cold start to summer in Australia's south-east

Snow on Mt Wellington near Hobart, Tasmania, on Thursday. It was the coldest December day in Hobart since 1964, reaching a maximum of just 11.5C.
© Robbie Moles
Snow on Mt Wellington near Hobart, Tasmania, on Thursday. It was the coldest December day in Hobart since 1964, reaching a maximum of just 11.5C.
Residents in parts of south-east Australia may be dreaming of a white Christmas, amid an unseasonably cold start to the summer.

Snow has been falling across the alps and on the Tasmanian highlands throughout the week, though warmer weather is on the horizon. Thursday was the coldest December day in Hobart since 1964, reaching a maximum of just 11.5C, with up to 10mm of snow falling on elevations above 1,5000 metres.

Temperatures near Mt Wellington dipped to below freezing on Thursday, with southerly winds making it feel colder than it was.

Melbourne has also faced unusually cold temperatures, shivering at a maximum of just 12C on Tuesday, and only hitting 17C on Thursday.

Cold air from the south kept temperatures between one and three degrees below average on Tasmania, with the first two weeks of summer wetter than average on the east coast.


Comment: Another report from 2 days prior: A week out from summer solstice in Australia snow and sub-zero temperatures hit the Snowy Mountains


Arrow Down

Fusion works, but uses a supernova budget to make a mini sun for a fraction of a second

Solar Flare
© NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
Eruption of a solar flare by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Enhanced by rawpixel.
Fusion reactors will one day be the ultimate in "free energy", but judging by the latest news of holy grail moments, it won't be soon. The bonanza of energy that everyone wants was never going to come by catching photons from the sun with a million square kilometer PV net, but from recreating the source of those photons here on Earth. It's the energy released if we can smack two atoms together and make them fuse which requires extreme temperatures and pressures (a bit like the sun) and do it efficiently, reliably, and millions of times a day.

In the latest nuclear news round, the mini sun experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory California gave back slightly more energy than was directly put in, which seems very exciting, but systemic total costs and energy used to "make this moment" happen are in a Supernova category all by themselves.
UPDATE: Just after publishing this blog post, news came out of a newer experiment just ten days ago:

The US's National Ignition Facility (NIF) has announced it successfully used a 192-beam laser to turn a tiny amount of hydrogen into enough energy to power about 15 - 20 kettles. This means that - for the first time - scientists were able to generate more power than the lasers put in to the experiment. — BBC

On Dec. 5, 2022, the National Ignition Facility shot a pellet of fuel with 2 million joules of laser energy - about the amount of power it takes to run a hair dryer for 15 minutes - all contained within a few billionths of a second. This triggered a fusion reaction that released 3 million joules. That is a gain of about 1.5, smashing the previous record of a gain of 0.7 achieved by the facility in August 2021. — The Conversation

The newer numbers are slightly better than the ones released last week. This is the same lab. The energy gain appears to have improved from 20% to 50%.