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Tue, 28 Feb 2017
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Avalanche kills seven people near Lowari Tunnel, Pakistan

An avalanche killed seven persons and injured many in Ziarat area near Lowari Tunnel, District Chitral Valley on Sunday, police confirmed the incident.

The official also confirmed that the dead bodies of the seven persons who were mechanics and technical staff of Sambu Korean construction company had been recovered. Seven persons rescued were rushed to the District Hospital.

Deputy Commissioner Chitral Shahab Hameed Yousafzai informed APP, that avalanche triggered by continous heavy snowfall hit a nearby mountain rock on the top of a workshop of SAMBU Construction Company of Korea, working in construction of 8.5 km long Lawari tunnel.

Workshop was hit by land sliding and avalanche at 11.00 a.m as a result 14 people were burried under the debris and heavy stones and rocks. Chitral Levies, Chitral Scouts and Chitral Police along with local volunteers took part in rescue operation and they recovered seven bodies and seven other injured were rescued and were rushed to Peshawar for medical treatment.


Heavy snowfall kills another 25 in northern Afghanistan

Twenty-five people were killed by snowstorms and avalanches in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, just days after more than 100 people died due to heavy snowfall across the country, according to an official.

This time round northern Faryab province bore the brunt of freezing temperatures and heavy snow. Ammanullah Zafar, director for security in the province, told Anadolu Agency the province's Kohistan district had been worst hit. "We can confirm that 25 people have died in this unprecedented heavy snow," Zafar said.

He said police along with National Disasters Management Authority teams were trying hard with their limited resources to save the lives of several residents in the area, particularly the stranded passengers on the inter-district highways and the people stuck up in the mountains.

Comment: See also: Series of avalanches kill over 100 across Afghanistan


Plans announced to 'refreeze' the Arctic!

© Chris Mikula/Postmedia News
Sometimes an idea comes along that adds another chapter to the Book of Stupid. You might think windmills on land are an indulgent, pointless fantasy, but take that idea and make it worse:
(CNN) A team of scientists has a surprisingly simple solution to saving the Arctic: We need to make more ice.

A team at Arizona State University has proposed building 10 million wind-powered pumps to draw up water and spill it out onto the surface of the ice, where it will freeze faster. Doing so would be complicated and expensive — it's estimated to cost a cool $500 billion, and right now the proposal is only theoretical.
It's not like we have anything better to do with half a trillion dollars. Should we cure cancer or refrigerate one of the coldest places on Earth? Should we teach our kids about the fall of civilizations, or teach them to bow before prophets who keep predicting the end of the Arctic and getting it wrong?

Or we could add ice to the whole arctic for just $5 trillion

Tristan Hopper explains the beefed up plan would absorb the "entire steel production of the United States", "half the worlds container fleet", and cost about the same as the "GDP of Japan". It would also make 163 million tonnes of CO2. He's serious, and so are the ivory tower guys:
"... the researchers from Arizona State University call the cost "economically achievable" and the environmental impact "negligible.""
We could fund it all by giving up on universities right now. When it comes to the Tertiary Sector — just say "No".


Record February snowfall recorded at Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski resorts, Maine

Sugarloaf ski resort
In just over two weeks' time, Sunday River and Sugarloaf—Maine's two largest ski areas owned by parent company Boyne Resorts—are already reporting record snowfall totals for the month of February.

In the past 24 hours, Sunday River reports 24 inches of new snow, while Sugarloaf reports 14 inches. Both resorts have seen more than 4 feet of snowfall in just the past week, and more than 5 feet of new snow since the start of the month.

"This is hands-down the best February in terms of natural snowfall that Sunday River has seen in over a decade," Darcy Lambert, Director of Communications for Sunday River Resort, says.

"Conditions are incredible," Noelle Tuttle, Communications Manager for Sugarloaf, confirms. "Sugarloaf is one inch away from beating its best February in 22 years—an ideal set up for next week's holiday period."

Snowflake Cold

46,000 livestock animals killed by severe winter in Mongolia

© Mirva Helenius/IFRC
Mongolian herder Munkhbat Bazarragchaa dragging two recently perished sheeps to a pile of dead animals behind his Ger in northern Mongolia. Mr. Bazarragchaa has already lost ten of his animals due to starvation and cold.
Severe winter conditions in Mongolia, known as Dzud, are threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Mongolian herders in eastern and northern parts of the country. Dzud is caused by the twin impacts of drought in the summer, resulting in insufficient grass in pastures and low production of hay, and harsh conditions in the winter, including heavy snowfall and extremely low temperatures.

More than 157,000 people are affected across 17 of Mongolia's 21 provinces. Livestock deaths have risen in recent weeks and according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), by 7 February over 46,000 animals had perished from starvation and cold.

Today the IFRC launched an International Emergency Appeal to support the Mongolian Red Cross who are responding to the crisis in four of the worst-affected provinces - Uvs, Zavkhan, Khuvsgul and Selenge. The IFRC appeal aims to raise 655,500 Swiss francs (Euros 614,000 Euros, USD 654,000) to target assistance at more than 11,000 people considered to be most at risk.

Herder Uranchimeg Terbish, from Khuvsgul province has already lost dozens of her animals due to starvation and cold.


Study: Britain's urban butterfly population decreases 69% in 20 years

Small copper
Butterflies are disappearing more rapidly from British towns and cities than from the countryside, according to a new study taken over the last 20 years. The research blames a multitude of factors for the decline, including climate change.

The study, published in the May 2017 issue of journal Ecological Indicators, found that the number of urban butterflies fell by 69 percent over a 20 year period beginning in 1995, compared to a 45 percent decline in rural areas.

The study compared trends for 28 species in urban and countryside environments and found that 25 of those species had declined by more in city environments.

In particular, the research found that the Small Copper and Small Heath species suffered the biggest city declines.

The Small Heath's population fell by 78 percent in urban areas, compared to just 17 percent in the countryside. Small Copper numbers dropped by 75 percent in urban areas, compared to 23 percent in non-urban environments.

Comment: See also: Record low number of UK butterflies a 'shock and a mystery'


Heavy snowfall buries southern Maine; 15,400 left without power

© Gregory Rec
Wet snow coats a stop sign in Kennebunk Thursday morning. Stop is what many Mainers may be thinking as they wake up to yet another day of digging themselves out.
The most snow fell in York County, where the National Weather Service reported 18 inches in Sanford and nearly 17 in Limington

It's time to dig out. Again.

A winter storm that blew into Maine Wednesday delivered another foot of snow on some areas that were buried under nearly 2 feet of snow on Monday. The heavy snow downed tree limbs and power lines overnight, knocking out electricity to thousands of homes.

The storm brought heavy rain to Portland and coastal communities for most of the day Wednesday while burying inland areas under a blanket of wet, heavy snow. The most snow fell in York County, where the National Weather Service reported 18 inches in Sanford and nearly 17 inches in Limington. Coastal areas saw far less snow, including in Scarborough where 3.4 inches of snow fell once the rain turned to snow overnight.

The National Weather Service said Mainers should expect slippery roads during the morning commute before snow ends by mid-morning.

Ice Cube

New Orwellian meaning of 'ice free' - One million square kilometers of ice is considered 'ice free'?

The Guardian today enthused about a new study proposing a £400 billion (US$500 billion) plan to refreeze the Arctic "before the ice melts." Physicist Steven Desch and his colleagues at Arizona State University want to replenish Arctic sea ice "by building 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap," the Guardian reports.

"The pumps could add an extra metre (3 ft) of sea ice to the Arctic's current layer, Desch argues. The current cap rarely exceeds 2-3 metres in thickness and is being eroded constantly as the planet succumbs to climate change." "The 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming will be insufficient to prevent the region's sea ice disappearing completely in summer, possibly by 2030," said Desch. "Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice."

Reminds me of Al Gore's ridiculous 2007, 2008 and 2009 assertions that the Arctic could expect ice-free summers by 2013. The article goes on to bemoan the "paucity of sea ice," warning that "most scientists expect that, at current emission rates, the Arctic will be reliably free of sea ice in summer by 2030."

"By "free", the article continues, "they mean there will be less than 1m sq km of sea ice left in the Arctic." Did you catch that? Words are so conveniently malleable, aren't they? They want us to accept their definition that "ice-free" means there will be less than one million square kilometers of sea ice left in the Arctic.

Comment: Greenland ice sheet defying alarmist predictions, shows massive growth this season

Snowflake Cold

Disruptions from heavy snowfall continue to strike parts of Japan; over 6 feet for the town of Kami

© Mainichi
A traffic jam is seen in front of JR Tottori Station in Tottori, on Feb. 13, 2017.
Disruptions from heavy weekend snow continued in Tottori Prefecture and other areas along the Sea of Japan on Feb. 13, a day after a path was cleared for some 250 vehicles that had been stranded on an expressway and national route.

The Tottori Prefectural Board of Education cancelled classes at 131 public elementary, junior high and high schools.

It continued to snow on and off in many areas of western Japan along the Sea of Japan coast on Feb. 13 as a result of a wintry atmospheric pattern that has brought the coldest air of the season to the region.

As of 9 a.m. on Feb. 13, the Hyogo Prefecture town of Kami had recorded 194 centimeters of snow, followed by 134 centimeters in the Yogocho district of Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, 124 centimeters in Ono, Fukui Prefecture, 75 centimeters in the city of Tottori and 36 centimeters in the Kyoto Prefecture city of Maizuru, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Ice Cube

Greenland ice sheet defying alarmist predictions, shows massive growth this season

Look at this graph from the Danish Meteorological Institute!

The dark gray line shows the mean from 1990 to 2013. The blue line shows the massive growth this season.

I don't know if this is an all-time record (perhaps someone can enlighten me), but it sure far surpasses any growth in the past 27 years.