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Sat, 23 Oct 2021
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Ice Cube

Coast Guard still battling thick Great Lakes ice - in April

Almost one month into spring, and the U.S. Coast Guard is still breaking up ice around the Great Lakes.

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© NOAA
Satellite image of ice cover on the Great Lakes on April 15, 2014. Overall, nearly 39 percent of the Great Lakes were covered in ice as of April 15, including 62 percent of Lake Superior.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 64 percent of Lake Superior was covered in ice as of Wednesday. Lake Michigan was 21 percent covered, Lake Huron was 31 percent covered, Lake Erie was 14 percent covered, and Lake Ontario was 2 percent covered. The entire Great Lakes system was 37 percent covered in ice.
VIDEO. #USCG cutters break a way into #Marquette Harbor, helping local mining industry avoid a shutdown. #Michigan buff.ly/Qd6Fq4 -
USCG Great Lakes (@USCGGreatLakes) April 16, 2014
The Coast Guard on Wednesday released video of the cutter Morro Bay carving up ice in the harbor in Marquette, Mich., nestled along the shores of Lake Superior.

Snowflake Cold

Ice Age Cometh: Record mid-April hard freeze kill Great Plains wheat

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Last Tuesday, April 15, was the coldest "Tax Day" nationwide on record. Hard freezes extended as far south as northern Texas. Mid-April snows were seen throughout the Corn Belt states. Columbus, Ohio had nearly four inches of the white stuff on Tuesday, its heaviest snowfall ever for so late in the spring season. Traces of snow were reported in the Texas Panhandle, Arkansas and Tennessee. Even northern Louisiana had a few flakes. Detroit, Michigan set a seasonal snowfall record on Tuesday.

A hard freeze in the southern Great Plains on Tuesday produced temperatures between 21 and 24 degrees at Amarillo, Dalhart, Perry and Lubbock, Texas. Near Gage, Oklahoma, one rancher reported 18 degrees. Ponca City, Oklahoma dipped to a record low of 21 degrees for April 15.

In Kansas, the nation's leading wheat producing state, already plagued by winterkill this harsh winter of 2013-14 that refuses to end and parching drought, there were reports of morning lows near 15 degrees both Monday and Tuesday. It was a frigid 13 degrees at Valentine, Nebraska.

Jointing wheat was damaged by the record cold early this past week in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, especially in those areas where the mercury plunged into the teens and lower 20s for several hours. Any wheat heading out can be at risk even at readings near 30 degrees. Fortunately, there was very little wheat heading out despite recent 90 degree temperatures in the southern Great Plains.

Snowflake Cold

Snowy Owls dying and having trouble migrating north due to prolonged cold weather

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It is time for many bird species to begin their spring migrations and Snowy Owls are among the many species that migrate. Although most birds migrate without any trouble it seems that more and more snowy owls are being found dead along their migration paths. While most ornithologists believe the recently reported Snowy Owls deaths are not related and only accidents, many are still studying the dead birds to be sure.

When a Snowy Owl wearing a GPS tracking device was found dead near Martha's Vineyard, many people became concerned and wanted to know why this bird and so many others were dying. Tufts University veterinary center and Norman Smith, who is an expert on Snowy Owls, decided to find out what caused the bird's death. They named the bird Sandy Neck.

The team examined the bird and released a report with their findings. The report said,

"The necropsy at Tufts showed no trauma except for a minor deep bruise in her left pectoral, no food in the proventriculus (stomach) or gizzard, and no signs of disease or unusual parasites. As Gus (Ben David) noted, she was in otherwise excellent condition - great muscle mass and fat deposits. Nor was there any water in the respiratory system. Mark Pokras (a veterinarian and professor at Tufts) said if he had to guess, she got swamped, swam to shore and went down from hypothermia - but also couldn't rule out drowning."

Attention

Heavy ice likely to have crushed 9 blue whales to death off Newfoundland

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© Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Blue whale carcasses were spotted on the ice on southwest coast of Newfoundland.

Warning: Disturbing images. Blue whale carcasses were spotted on the ice off the southwest coast of Newfoundland, while a sperm whale carcass washed up on the southeast coast.

Several endangered blue whales have been found dead in ice off Newfoundland - probably crushed to death by ice, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

DFO said the carcasses of blue whales were spotted last month, stuck in thick ice off of the southwest coast of the island.

Dr. Jack Lawson, a researcher with DFO, told Global News he and a colleague spotted nine dead whales while flying over the ice, about 40 nautical miles west of Cape Anguille. He said they were around 20 metres long - the "length of two school buses."

Ice Cube

US largest steel mill stands idle due to ice coverage on Lake Superior

Gary works steel mill idle
© AP
Frozen: U.S. Coast Guard a convoy of Great Lakes cargo ships line up to follow an icebreaker on the St. Marys River, which links Lakes Superior and Huron. U.S. Steel said Monday, April 7, 2014 that its largest mill in Gary, Indiana, is on limited production because of a lack of raw materials

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews kept up their battle on Monday to clear pathways for vessels hauling vital raw materials on the ice-clogged Great Lakes, where a shipping logjam forced a weeklong shutdown of the nation's largest steel factory.

Traffic remained largely at a crawl after a winter that produced some of the heaviest ice on record across the five inland seas, where more than half the surface area remained solid this week.

Icebreaking ships slogging across Lake Superior were still encountering ice layers 2 feet to 3 feet thick. In some areas, wind and wave action created walls of ice up to 14 feet high.

United States Steel Corp.'s plant in Gary, Indiana, had resumed limited operations after receiving a shipment over the weekend of iron ore from a company mill near Detroit, which was sending one additional load, spokeswoman Courtney Boone said.

Two ships were scheduled to arrive Tuesday with ore from mines in northern Minnesota following a two-week voyage across Lake Superior, which ordinarily would take three days.

Other companies were hoping their supplies would be adequate to avoid significant disruptions.

'Nobody's stockpile situation is very good,' said Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman for the Lake Carriers' Association, which represents companies that operate 57 U.S.-flagged freighters on the Great Lakes. 'It's still very slow sledding.'

Magnify

How did the IPCC's alarmism take everyone in for so long?

Amazonian Rainforest
© Getty Images
Dire warnings about glaciers and Amazonian rainforests are based on lobbying, not science
When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.

They will be struck by the extent to which this scare relied on the projections of computer models, which then proved to be hopelessly wrong when, in the years after 1998, their predicted rise in temperature came virtually to a halt. But in particular they will be amazed by the almost religious reverence accorded to that strange body, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which by then will be recognised as having never really been a scientific body at all, but a political pressure group. It had been set up in the 1980s by a small band of politically persuasive scientists who had become fanatically committed to the belief that, because carbon dioxide levels were rising, global temperatures must inevitably follow; an assumption that the evidence would increasingly show was mistaken.

Dominoes

The game is up for global warming believers

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Power station emitting steam and smoke
Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall (Quartet)

Most of us pay some attention to the weather forecast. If it says it will rain in your area tomorrow, it probably will. But if it says the same for a month, let alone a year, later, it is much less likely to be right. There are too many imponderables.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, "global weirding") has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call "The Science". Proper science studies what is - which is, in principle, knowable - and is consequently very cautious about the future - which isn't. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

Some of the utterances of the warmists are preposterously specific. In March 2009, the Prince of Wales declared that the world had "only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse". How could he possibly calculate such a thing? Similarly, in his 2006 report on the economic consequences of climate change, Sir Nicholas Stern wrote that, "If we don't act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least five per cent of global GDP each year, now and forever." To the extent that this sentence means anything, it is clearly wrong (how are we losing five per cent GDP "now", before most of the bad things have happened? How can he put a percentage on "forever"?). It is charlatanry.

Snowflake Cold

Hundreds of dead and dying palms legacy of big chill in Florida

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© MARK KULAW
What's up with all the dead palms?

From the towering palms at Pensacola International Airport to backyard cabbage palms, the legacy of this winter's unprecedented freeze in early January left hundreds and hundreds of damaged or dead palm trees.

The harsh cold, which saw temperatures in the teen for an extended period, took a toll on plant life in the area, but palm trees in particular have suffered, leaving folks wondering whether they will come back if pruned or whether they should be removed.

"A lot of the palm trees that you see in the area are not recommended for the zone that we're in," said Carol Lord, an environmental horticultural technician at Escambia County Extension. "So they may not come back."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a Hardiness Zone Map that provides information that helps gardeners determine what plants will grow in their area.

Cloud Lightning

Baseball-sized hail, heavy rain and tornadoes pound the Midwest and Southern U.S. states

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Thunderstorms were crawling across a large swath of the Midwest and South on Thursday, spawning suspected tornadoes in Missouri and Texas, and slamming several states with large hail and heavy rain that prompted a handful of water rescues.

Four people were injured in Texas when a suspected tornado destroyed a farmhouse and a mobile home Thursday night near Merit, about 40 miles northeast of Dallas. Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said the injuries weren't life-threatening, though he didn't have details.

Storms pummeled the North Texas college city of Denton with hail as large as baseballs, leading to reports of broken windows and other damage. The National Weather Service in Tulsa noted reports of hail up to the size of ping pong balls and strong wind gusts.

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Bug

Beekeeper loses all his 500,000 honeybees due to long harsh winter in Holland, Michigan

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Beekeepers in West Michigan are calling it a 'crisis', which has only gotten worse from several months of extreme cold.
A local beekeeper who lost all of his honeybees this winter and he says it's happening across the state.

Anyone can look at Don Lam's beehive and see piles of dead honeybees. However, for Lam, each hive also tells the story of a struggle to survive. "They vibrate their wing muscles and that vibration is similar to shivering," says Lam, a beekeeper in Holland.

It was a fight that his nearly half a million honeybees lost to a long, harsh winter. "They had eaten there way all the way to the top, had run out of food, and they couldn't move over because it was too cold," says Lam. "In some cases they froze to death because the cluster got too small and in other cases they starved to death."

Comment: See also: The death and global extinction of honeybees