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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Extreme Temperatures


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.


Rare snow in August at Utah's higher elevations as local rain records fall


August snow at Snowbird
No, you aren't imagining it. That's actually snow in Utah's mountains — in August.

Snowbird Resort, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, tweeted photos Thursday morning of modest snowfall — especially rare for August standards — as a result of the cold front passing through Utah this week. Utah Department of Transportation traffic cameras also picked up light snow in the High Uintas and other mountainous areas Thursday morning.

National Weather Service meteorologists said snow and "fall-like" temperatures are expected in areas above 9,000 feet Thursday with the trough that entered the state. Alta, also in the Cottonwood Canyons, had a forecasted high in the low 40s Thursday, according to the weather service.

The storm, which has delivered plenty of rain and, yes, smoke , cooled temperatures significantly across the state during what has been an otherwise hot summer. Some record-low temperatures were reported elsewhere in Utah Thursday, including 51 degrees in Bullfrog, by Lake Powell — snapping the record-low of 57 degrees set in 1972.


It's August and it's snowing in Colorado

It is August 20 and the National Weather Service in Boulder is reporting heavy snow on Berthoud Pass. The snow report was posted around 2 a.m. Friday morning with a 16 degree wind chill. Originally tweeted by NWS Boulder.

Source: kdvr.com


Southern Alps in New Zealand receive up to a metre of snow in 24 hours

Deep wind-drifts in Mt Hutt yesterday after 40cms
© Mt Hutt
Deep wind-drifts in Mt Hutt yesterday after 40cms of snow.
As the storm clears today, many are looking at webcams of places they would rather be as the deep fresh snow coincides with the yesterday's news of New Zealand's snow resorts plunging into level 4 lockdown for three days.

Thanks to the storm earlier this week we have just seen great snow accumulations around the country, offering some of the best conditions so far this season. Ohau reported a metre up top in 24 hours to Tuesday morning and other locations around the Southern Alps reporting around the half a metre mark in the past 48 hours. However, other than this storm and a couple of earlier snow falls, it has been quite warm around the country with the NIWA (National Institute of water andAtmospheric Research) research showing that New Zealand has just experienced its warmest June and July on record.


Alberta's Kananaskis region just got some summer snow

© Tiffany Lizée
In most places, August usually means sunshine and warm temperatures; however, Alberta's weather can be a bit of a wild card.

The province lived up to its reputation on Tuesday, when the Kananaskis region experienced snow.

Locals took to social media to express their surprise, and maybe even happiness, that Alberta's K-country got some of the white fluffy stuff.

Posts showed snow in the region, with some dusting to mountain peaks to the fluffy stuff coating trees and grass.


Parts of South Africa and Lesotho covered in blanket of snow up to 8 inches deep

Snow at Semonkong Lodge in Lesotho.

Snow at Semonkong Lodge in Lesotho.
Over the weekend parts of South Africa and Lesotho were transformed into a wintery wonderland as snow blanketed the ground.

The South African Weather Service issued a warning before the weekend that the snowfall might be "disruptive" in some parts of the country.

Some areas like the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho received more snowfall than expected, causing road blockages and power outages.

According to Peter Peyper, managing director at the resort, they expected 5-10cm of snow, but instead received over 20cm of snowfall.


Unseasonal August snow in upper reaches of Kashmir

Upper reaches in Kashmir on Sunday received snowfall resulting in considerable dip in mercury, officials of MeT centre Srinagar said here.

An official said that the unseasonal snowfall was witnessed at Amarnath cave and higher reaches of Sonamarg.

He said that the unseasonal snowfall in the upper reaches has caused a dip in the day temperature.

He, however, said that the weather may start improving from tonight in the valley, but there are chances of late night showers in the Jammu region.

"There are also reports of snowfall in the mountainous ranges of Drass in the Union Territory of Ladakh," he added.


Wakkanai, northern Japan just recorded its coldest summer temperature in 128 years - 2 weeks after city hit one of its hottest temperatures ever

Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost island
© Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost island.
Just days after Japan's northernmost island Hokkaido baked in record heat, an unseasonably cold snap saw temperatures plunging on Thursday (Aug 12) to among their lowest on record for the month.

At the same time, the island of Kyushu in the south-west is being pounded by a torrential deluge, with some areas encountering in a single day what is typically a full month's worth of precipitation for August.

These extreme weather patterns are raising concerns about the impact of climate change on Japan, where 7,943 people were admitted to hospital nationwide last week amid a scorching heatwave.

Two weeks after Wakkanai in Hokkaido set its highest temperature on record of 32.7 deg C on July 29, the mercury tumbled to just 2.6 deg C around dawn on Thursday - the city's lowest reading for August in 128 years.

Sapporo, some 300km to the south, was a cool 13.9 deg C on Thursday morning, compared with the 26 deg C recorded at 7am on Sunday, when the Olympic men's marathon event flagged off. A combination of the heat and brutal humidity led 30 out of the 106 competitors to pull out.


"Like a horror movie:" Greece wildfires continue to force thousands of evacuations

The burning of wildfires in Greece was like living in a horror movie, one resident said as she was evacuated from the Greek island of Evia by ferry on Sunday.

Thousands of people have fled their homes on Evia as wildfires burned uncontrolled for a sixth day, and ferries were on standby for more evacuations after taking many to safety by sea.

Fires that had threatened the northern suburbs of Athens in recent days died back. But the blaze on Evia, a large island north-east of the capital, quickly burgeoned into several fronts, ripping through thousands of hectares of pristine forest across its northern part, and forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.


Seven dead as wildfires sweep across Algeria

Some fires erupted near houses, forcing inhabitants to flee [Screengrab/ Social media]

Some fires erupted near houses, forcing inhabitants to flee [Screengrab/ Social media]
Algeria is the latest Mediterranean country to be hit by wildfires, after blazes hit Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

Wildfires fanned by blistering temperatures and tinder-dry conditions have killed at least seven people in Algeria, the interior minister said Tuesday, adding the fires had criminal origins.

Photographs posted on social media show huge walls of flame and billowing clouds of smoke towering over villages in the forested hills of the Kabylie region, east of the capital Algiers.