Extreme Temperatures


NOT satire: 'Human breathing contributes to global warming' - British scientists

Comment: "...therefore our solution is to..."

Methane and nitrous oxide found in human exhalations are worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, scientists say.
© Getty Images / Peter Dazelly
Human breathing contributes to global warming, according to a study published Wednesday in PLoS One. The authors argued that human respiration's contribution to climate change has been underestimated and merits further study.

After measuring the gas composition in the exhaled breaths of 328 study participants, the researchers concluded human breath comprises 0.05% of the UK's methane emissions and 0.1% of its nitrous oxide. Both of those gasses "have a much higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide," the study notes.

"Exhaled human breath can contain small, elevated concentrations of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), both of which contribute to global warming," the researchers, led by atmospheric physicist Nicholas Cowan of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, wrote. "We would urge caution in the assumption that emissions from humans are negligible."

While Cowan explained that "CO2 contribution in human breath to climate change is essentially zero" because plants absorb nearly all the carbon dioxide humans breathe out, the other two gasses are left in the atmosphere. Methane traps 80 times the amount of heat as carbon dioxide during its first 20 years in the atmosphere, though this potency decreases over time.

Snowflake Cold

Blizzards sweep across Russia bringing massive snow falls

A man walks past cars covered with snow after
© REUTERS/Maxim ShemetovA man walks past cars covered with snow after heavy snowfall in Moscow, Russia December 15, 2023.
Blizzards swept across swathes of Russia on Friday, carpeting Moscow in one of the biggest snow falls in decades and sowing chaos on major roads where truck drivers battled with more than 20 centimetres of snow and strong winds.

A cyclone brought more than a day of constant blizzards to the Russian capital in what could be one of the strongest snow storms to hit Moscow in 60 years, according to meteorologists.

More than one fifth of the average snow fall for December was recorded over just 24 hours at metrological stations across Moscow where streets were blanketed in snow and motorists struggled to get their cars out of parking spaces.


Watch: Saudi Arabia's Tabuk mountains blanketed in snow, 'pleasant to the soul and the eye'

Photographer Fahd Al Masoudi captured this stunning scene on Tuesday.
Photographer Fahd Al Masoudi captured this stunning scene on Tuesday.
In an unusual yet breathtaking transformation, the mountain peaks of Tabuk in northwestern Saudi Arabia have been adorned with snow.

Photographer Fahd Al Masoudi captured the stunning scenes on Tuesday, showcasing the snow-covered heights and valleys of the region in a spectacular display.

Comment: Related: Makkah streets flooded as heavy rains lash region of Saudi Arabia

Ice Cube

Brand new electric buses paralyzed in Oslo

Electric Bus
© solarisbus.comThe city of Oslo only bought 183 electric buses from Solaris in April 2023.
Oslo, Norway - Winter is here and with it the freezing cold. And now public transport is also paralyzed. Oslo's brand new fleet of electric buses is not designed for these temperatures - their batteries are failing miserably in the icy cold.

Too cold for the batteries - Brand new electric buses paralyzed in Oslo

The transport operator confirms that the electric buses are simply not reliable enough in winter: "The range of the electric buses decreases drastically in the cold. The batteries run out more quickly." In total, around 140 departures were affected.

Snowflake Cold

Second cold wave envelops China's Beijing in snow, ice

People play with snow amid snowfall in Beijing, China December 13, 2023.
Snow, blizzards and plunging temperatures swept northern China in what could be one of its most severe cold snaps in December, spurring authorities in the capital to halt train services, shut schools and tell people to stay home.

A mass of cold air drifted into Beijing from the west, the second cold wave this week. City officials have issued the second-highest alert for blizzards through Thursday, the only such warning yet in the country.

To avert chaos threatened by what was expected to be a "long-lasting" round of snowfall, the city of nearly 22 million shut all schools from Wednesday and moved classes online. Businesses were told to offer employees flexible working conditions and staggered commutes.

"We'll try not to travel," said a 36-year-old Beijing resident surnamed Liu, whose child's school had closed as snow fell for the second time since Monday.

Comment: Report from 2 days earlier: Schools, train service and roads closed as heavy snow blankets northern China

Arrow Down

Heavy rain and melting snow cause flooding and landslides in Switzerland

The road between Les Valettes and Champex, near Orsieres in canton Valais, subsided after heavy rain on Tuesday December 12, 2023.
© Etat Du Valais / KeystoneThe road between Les Valettes and Champex, near Orsieres in canton Valais, subsided after heavy rain on Tuesday December 12, 2023.
The Meteonews service reported on Tuesday that up to 100 litres of rain per square metre had accumulated in affected regions. The heavy precipitation on already humid soil and melting snow have raised the levels of many watercourses. Maximum levels are expected in many places on Thursday.

The situation is particularly critical in canton Valais, especially on roads, where many incidents have been reported across the southern region.

"The situation is dangerous all over," Frédéric Favre, the head of the Department of Security, Institutions and Sport, told reporters on Tuesday.


Snowfall blankets Kara-Kulja, Kyrgyzstan reaching 1.3 meters (51 inches) in depth

Snowfall measuring 1.30 meters in depth has covered Kara-Kulja district of Osh region.

Heavy snow fell in a number of areas of Kara-Kulja district, and Alayku roads were closed.


Heavy snow breaks trees in Slovak Paradise National Park in Slovakia

Branches and trees are breaking under heavy snow even in the Slovak Paradise national park in northeast Slovakia.

The village of Hrabušice should start removing fallen trees in the most visited gorge of Slovak Paradise, Suchá Belá, on Monday.

It has been closed since Thursday last week.

At the beginning of last week, there was a plan to replace the ladders in the gorge, but the weather complicated the situation and it is now uncertain.


Schools, train service and roads closed as heavy snow blankets northern China

This photo taken on Dec. 11, 2023 shows the sno
© Xinhua/Li XinThis photo taken on Dec. 11, 2023 shows the snow scenery of the Palace Museum in Beijing, capital of China.
Overnight snowfall across much of northern China prompted road closures and the suspension of classes and train service on Monday.

A red alert for a blizzard was in effect until mid-morning in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, and schools were closed there and in two other cities in Henan, state broadcaster CCTV reported. The Zhengzhou airport was also closed until 11 a.m.

A total of 134 road sections in 12 provinces, including 95 on highways, were closed as of 7 a.m. because of snowfall and icy conditions, CCTV said. Several trains in two parts of Shanxi province were suspended.

It was the first significant snowfall this year in much of China, outside of mountainous areas and in the northeast near the border with Russia's Siberia.

A thin layer of snow blanketed rooftops and parked cars in downtown Beijing. The roads were mostly clear and workers swept remaining snow from the sidewalks. The Beijing Public Transport Group said that 187 bus routes were suspended on Monday morning. Some subway lines were adding additional trains during the morning rush hour, CCTV said.

Snowflake Cold

Best of the Web: Coldest start to winter in decades for Russia: Parts of Siberia are enduring extreme cold below minus-70 degrees Fahrenheit

russia siberia cold
© weatherbell.comA major cold snap has hit eastern Russia in recent days
As the icebox of the Northern Hemisphere, Russia's Siberia is notorious for its frigid weather. But the cold so far this December — the most severe in decades in some areas — is extreme even by its own bone-chilling standards.

Temperatures around minus-58 degrees (minus-50 Celsius) and even lower have spread over northeastern Siberia in recent days and will persist for several more. The mercury has dipped as low as minus-73.7 degrees (minus-58.7 Celsius) thus far.

Most of Russia is predicted to endure temperatures much below average through the next week. The coldest conditions relative to normal will tend to drift toward the central and western parts of the country with daily temperature some 20 to 40 degrees below average.

The punishing chill in Siberia is a massive departure from abnormally warm weather prevailing over much of the rest of the planet. The European Union's Copernicus Climate Service announced Wednesday that last month was the warmest November ever observed by a wide margin and the sixth month in a row to set a record high. This year is a virtual lock to be the planet's warmest on record.

Comment: That's according to 'satellite data', which is 'cooked' to produce 'the right results'. The actual, lived November for most Europeans was a cold and wet one.

Climate scientists still expect bouts of extreme cold in a warming world, but they are projected to become less frequent and intense, while covering smaller areas, over time.

Comment: See also: Temperatures in Siberia dip to minus 56 Celsius as record snow blankets Moscow