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Fri, 03 Dec 2021
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Des Moines, Iowa: Sudden snow causes two pileups involving more than 40 vehicles

© Colleen Krantz/Special to the Register
As thousands of drivers and schoolchildren can tell you firsthand, Thursday's surprise snowfall created a near-standstill for Des Moines-area travel for hours.

At least 25 cars were involved in a pileup on Interstate Highway 80 near Waukee during the evening rush hour. Another 20-plus cars jammed U.S. Highway 169 between Adel and De Soto. Some people were without power for hours because roads laden with accidents kept crews from reaching the outage area.

And in Des Moines, at least one school bus was still taking students home after 9 p.m. because of poor road conditions.

"Those buses began their routes just as the worst of the storm was hitting the metro by surprise," district spokesman Phil Roeder said.

A bus that left Greenwood Elementary School at 4:30 p.m. was still en route to student houses at 9 p.m. Roeder said that he wasn't sure how long the route typically takes, but that students had always been home in time for dinner.

Another bus that left Windsor Elementary School at 4:30 p.m. didn't finish its route until 8:30.

Roeder said bus drivers remain in touch with dispatchers while on the road. Dispatchers then contact parents. Roeder said not every parent was contacted because of the unexpected conditions.

Comment: Apparently this snow storm came on quickly. The video below captures the first hour and 15 minutes:


Several skiers and snowboarders killed in separate Alpine avalanches

© Daily Beast
A series of avalanches in the Alps have claimed several lives over the past couple of days.

Despite repeated efforts to resuscitate him, a 24-year-old Frenchman died on his way to hospital on Thursday, at Bardonecchia in the Italian Alps above Turin.

He had been snowboarding and was apparently struck by an avalanche caused by other off-piste skiers.

Reports in Italian media say police have opened an investigation for manslaughter.

At Courchevel in the French Alps a mountain worker and his son were both hit by a wall of snow as they tried to reach their chalet refuge.

The boy survived but his father, an experienced mountaineer, was killed.

Two other teenage skiers died in separate avalanches, at Serre-Chevalier and at La Plagne.


Has the sun gone to sleep? Even the BBC is starting to doubt man-made global warming

Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of "solar lull" - meaning that it has fallen asleep - and it is baffling them.

History suggests that periods of unusual "solar lull" coincide with bitterly cold winters.

Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight on the effect this inactivity could have on our current climate, and what the implications might be for global warming.

Comment: The implications for global warming are: THAT IT'S OVER!

Solar activity is so low that we may indeed be facing an ice age in the not too distant future:

Sun's bizarre activity may trigger another ice age

New paper predicts a sharp decline in solar activity until 2100

Falling temperatures are giving climate alarmists chills


Brutal Arctic outbreak predicted for the U.S.

We are about to enter a very interesting period, and while I know that many of you like the cold, this next Arctic outbreak could be dangerous and even historic. I put out an article about a week ago and then one before that that basically restated that I thought that mid to late January going into February could end up being dangerously cold for the central and eastern U.S. While I have really been putting myself out on the line over these last few weeks, I am now getting a lot of forecast model support to back up what I saw coming several weeks ago. Like I said on the Facebook page, the GFS model did not handle the last Arctic outbreak that well in predicting this in the long-range, so I absolutely had no reason to believe that anything would be different this time. Yet again, many fell into the trap of using the GFS as their model of choice for their long-range forecast, and they got burned. See, weather and climate works in cycles, and you have to be able to see those cycles. If you miss that, then you're left depending on a model that dictates your forecasts, and those forecasts can change A LOT! You're at the mercy of the forecast models, and I try to never put myself in that situation.

Now that I'm getting the support of the forecast models and we're much closer to the event, I want to show you what the models are predicting. In fact, if what the forecast models are predicting for the last week of January going into February comes to fruition, then we have a historic Arctic outbreak on our way that would give us brutal cold. The Canadian model also supports a big East Coast storm later in January, which I really think could happen. From the way things are starting to look, this cold pattern could lock in, which would continue into February, and we could also move into a very stormy pattern. Many of you have commented on the Facebook page (yes, I take the time to read almost all of your comments and messages) that you were disappointed that you didn't get any snow with this last Arctic outbreak. I'm really thinking things will be different this time. No, I'm not saying that Miami, FL will get snow, but I do think many areas in the Southeast and up the East Coast will.

Ice Cube

Return of the polar vortex? Stratospheric trifecta signals extreme cold for February

It now appears that the stratosphere will kick off a number of indices that deem February to be the coldest prolonged period of winter thus far. In today's post, I will address multiple indices that favor a significantly colder than normal February.

Part I: The Stratosphere

- First Warming
In the opening days of January, we saw a stratospheric warming event occur. This event was minor, as the chart above (depicting temperature anomalies in the upper latitudes) shows. Nevertheless, this first warming event, coupled with the ongoing warming event is helping to destabilize the polar vortex in the stratosphere. So far this winter, the stratospheric polar vortex has been resistant to any and all attempts to be put down. We can attribute this to the positive phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), which is unfavorable for a weak polar vortex. These two first warmings are just tastes of what is to come. While the first warming was minor, it seems to have shaken up the vortex at least a bit, and this ongoing warming event right now is most likely helping with some slight (at the very least) destabilization of the polar vortex.

Arrow Up

Recovery! In 2013 global sea ice was above average for first time in 9 years - Now similar to 1986!

Global sea ice is supposed to be melting away. We are often led to believe that it is at or near record lows. It's global warming after all, and everyone knows that warmth melts ice. But if ice is growing, maybe it's a sign that things are cooling down.

From the chart that follows we do see that global sea ice did take a small hit in the 2000s, especially the Arctic. However the trend for the last three years is definitely a strong upward one.
Global sea ice 1979-2013

Source: arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/global.daily.ice.area.jpg


Scientists uncover more evidence for dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream, ocean current shut down completely in November 2004

Scientists have uncovered more evidence for a dramatic weakening in the vast ocean current that gives Britain its relatively balmy climate by dragging warm water northwards from the tropics. The slowdown, which climate modellers have predicted will follow global warming, has been confirmed by the most detailed study yet of ocean flow in the Atlantic.

Most alarmingly, the data reveal that a part of the current, which is usually 60 times more powerful than the Amazon river, came to a temporary halt during November 2004.

The nightmare scenario of a shutdown in the meridional ocean current which drives the Gulf stream was dramatically portrayed in The Day After Tomorrow. The climate disaster film had Europe and North America plunged into a new ice age practically overnight.

Although no scientist thinks the switch-off could happen that quickly, they do agree that even a weakening of the current over a few decades would have profound consequences.

Comment: Could such a shutdown of the Gulf Stream lead to, or at least correlate with, the sudden onset of an ice age?

The geological record says it certainly could!

What have we noticed in recent years? Long, cold winters...


Daring tourists queue up to climb frozen waterfall in China

The wall of ice in the Miyun district is perfect for a spot of climbing, providing you have a head for heights

Frozen Waterfall
© Rex
Frozen Waterfall.
It is so cold in the Miyun District that a waterfall has actually frozen solid.

The sub zero conditions have caused havoc in places, but not in China where they're using the plummeting temperatures to their advantage.

Any ice cool tourists brave enough can scale the usually raging torrent with the help of some crampons and a pickax.

Freezing weather conditions have battered much of the globe with parts of America dropping to -60 thanks to Winter Storm Hercules.

Conditions in the north of America are so historically low that the world-famous Niagara Falls actually froze spawning some truly amazing snaps.

Lake Michigan steamed because the water was warmer than the surrounding air, and the small town of Hell froze over - for real.


Fish encased in ice: Mass death in Norway as the water froze

The school of fish perished as they froze to death when the water rapidly froze over this weekend at Lovund island, in the Nordland province in Norway.

A temperature of -7/8°C (that's approx 17-19°F) with an east wind made the bay freeze over very quickly. The fish had probably been chased towards the shore by cormorants and did not make it back to the open sea before the water froze solid.

Aril Slotte at the Sea Research Institute says it's not uncommon for fish to be chased to the shore by predators. The type of fish is described as coalfish or pollack (Pollachius virens).

It made for a striking photo op.
Frozen Fish
© Ingolf Kristiansen
Not the first time this has happened in Nordland this year.

Ice Cube

Sea freezes so fast in Lovund, Norway that thousands of fish are killed instantly

Norwegian public radio (Google-translated) reports on the instant death of thousands of fish in a bay in the island of Lovund, Norway. An air temperature of -7.8 C (17.96 F) combined with a strong east wind froze the sea water instantly, trapping and killing the fish. You can see it in this fishapocalyptic image:


The dog owner says that he has never seen such a phenomenon. NRK claims that the herrings were chased by predators into the bay when the deadly freezing happened. Aril Slotte - the head of pelagic fish department at Norway's Institute of Marine Research - says it is not uncommon for herring to get very near the shore when chased by predators, sometimes getting trapped by the low tide in areas like this bay.