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Wed, 27 Oct 2021
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Snowflake

Ski areas open in September after August snowfall in the Alps

Zugspitze

Zugspitze
Only four glacier ski areas are currently open as we enter September, but there should be nearer a dozen operating by the end of the month.

Last year the autumn openings of glaciers happened ass usual after the first wave of the pandemic, and there were actually huge early snowfalls up high. However already-open ski resorts in Austria, France and Italy were forced to close from late October due to the second wave of the virus and although Austria re-opened in January, and Swiss and Scandinavian ski centres stayed open throughout, travel bans meant few people made it on to the slopes. Those who skied or boarded in September and October 2020 were therefore among the lucky few.

So far there have been several August snow dustings on glaciers in the Alps, the good news is the snowfall has been getting heavier in recent days.

Pictured top is snowfall at the Zugspitze Glacier, Germany's highest ski area, last weekend. It is hoping to open for its 21-22 season on November 18th after missing last season entirely.


Snowflake

South Africans frolic in heavier than usual snowfall - up to 50cms

snow
South Africans frolick in the snow

DW's Adrian Kriesch drove just outside of Cape Town, an area that's currently seeing massive snow fall - much to the pleasure of both young and old.


Ice Cube

Sharp uptick in Arctic Sea ice: Extent on course to be the highest in 15 years

arctic
Arctic Sea Ice Extent has been holding exceptionally well during the 2021 summer melt season.

Throughout August, higher volumes than usual have survived due to cold conditions and favorable wind patterns.

As a result, Arctic Sea Ice Extent is now the highest in 8 years,
and, if this year's trajectory continues for another week or two (which is expected), 2021 will achieve the 'healthiest' extent of the past 15 years (since 2006).

Only 2014, 2013, and 2009 remain in its way - though the gap is narrowing, fast:

Snowflake

Rare snowfall in August blankets Chilean desert

snow

A rare snowfall surprised the residents of El Salvador, a small town located in the Chilean desert of Atacama.


Snowflake

August snowfall hits province of southwest China

snow
Tourists on Wednesday enjoyed the mesmerizing views of this year's first snowfall at the Dagu Glacier scenic area in Heishui County, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

At 4,860 meters above sea level, visitors enjoyed the fresh air while taking in the views of white mountains glittering against the seamless sky.

Galitai in Songpan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan also welcomed its first snow this year on Thursday, surprising residents.


Snowflake

Severe storm blasts New South Wales, Australia - piling up snow one metre deep at Barrington

The cold front brought blizzard conditions to the Barrington overnight.

The cold front brought blizzard conditions to the Barrington overnight.
The rain yesterday brought plenty of snow to the Barrington last night with the strong westerly winds piling up one metre of snow in some places.

The conditions on the Barrington overnight were described as "blizzard like", with the strong winds causing many large trees to fall and residents are busy clearing roads from the damage.

There was an estimated 55 to 60mm of rainfall in the area and many local rivers have risen.

The snow began at approximately 2pm and fell throughout the night, but it is now melting and conditions are icy.

While lock down prevents people from visiting the Tops, it is unlikely the area would have been open due to the damage caused by the high winds.


Snowflake Cold

Routes cut and dozens stranded by heavy snowstorm in Neuquén, Argentina

The snow covered Caviahue and the temperature dropped to minus 20 degrees

The snow covered Caviahue and the temperature dropped to minus 20 degrees
The heavy snowfall that occurred in recent days in the Andean region began to cause complications. There were around 50 people stranded in the Bariloche bus terminal and the Municipality of Neuquén reported that the terminal of the capital city receives services from long-distance companies that left for the different areas of the province, but that they had to return because they did not can circulate.

For now, traffic on Route 237 was cut off due to the complicated situation in the Collón Cura area. This route connects Bariloche with Piedra del Águila and the cities of the Alto Valle.

In addition to route 237, the National Highway suspended traffic on routes 40 and 22 where the inconvenience to circulate due to accumulation of snow persists .


Snowflake

August snow on Togwotee Pass, Wyoming

Togwotee Pass
© WYDOT
Togwotee Pass, Aug 22
It's 7:40 am on Sunday, August 22nd, and there is snow on Togwotee Pass. Not necessarily a surprise considering the cooler temps we've had recently.

Snowflake

Too soon? Traces of snow observed in Wyoming mountains

US 26 near Wind River Lake just east of the Teton, Fremont County line 8/21/21
© WYDOT
US 26 near Wind River Lake just east of the Teton, Fremont County line 8/21/21
Though summer doesn't officially end until next month's autumnal equinox, traces of winter appeared Saturday morning in Wyoming's mountains.

These Wyoming Department of Transportation webcams captured traces of snow on US 26 in the southern Absaroka/northern Wind River Range near Wind River Lake Saturday, at an elevation around 9,609 feet.

Meanwhile, fire managers on the Crater Ridge Fire in the Big Horns reported waking up to snow on the ground and heavy fog Saturday morning.

US 26 near Wind River Lake
© WYDOT
US 26 near Wind River Lake

Info

Significant geothermal heat beneath the ice stream identified

Research Helicopter
© Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Thomas Ronge
Geophysical measurements with a magnetometer being towed with RV Polarstern's board helicopter.
Ice losses from Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica are currently responsible for roughly four percent of the global sea-level rise. This figure could increase, since virtually no another ice stream in the Antarctic is changing as dramatically as the massive Thwaites Glacier. Until recently, experts attributed these changes to climate change and the fact that the glacier rests on the seafloor in many places, and as such comes into contact with warm water masses. But there is also a third, and until now one of the most difficult to constrain, influencing factors. In a new study, German and British researchers have shown that there is a conspicuously large amount of heat from Earth's interior beneath the ice, which has likely affected the sliding behaviour of the ice masses for millions of years. This substantial geothermal heat flow, in turn, are due to the fact that the glacier lies in a tectonic trench, where the Earth's crust is significantly thinner than it is e.g. in neighbouring East Antarctica. The new study was published today in the Nature online journal Communications Earth & Environment.

Unlike East Antarctica, West Antarctica is a geologically young region. In addition, it doesn't consist of a large contiguous land mass, where the Earth's crust is up to 40 kilometres thick, but instead is made up of several small and for the most part relatively thin crustal blocks that are separated from each other by a so-called trench system or rift system. In many of the trenches in this system, the Earth's crust is only 17 to 25 kilometres thick, and as a result a large portion of the ground lies one to two kilometres below sea level. On the other hand, the existence of the trenches has long led researchers to assume that comparatively large amounts of heat from Earth's interior rose to the surface in this region. With their new map of this geothermal heat flow in the hinterland of the West Antarctic Amundsen Sea, experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have now provided confirmation.