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Sat, 29 Apr 2017
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Better Earth

Researchers solve the century-old mystery of Blood Falls

© Erin Pettit
Blood Falls is a famous iron-rich outflow of water that scientists suspected was connected to a water source that may have been trapped under an Antarctic glacier for more than a million years.

From the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the "at least they didn't blame climate change" department:

A research team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College has solved a century-old mystery involving a famous red waterfall in Antarctica. New evidence links Blood Falls to a large source of salty water that may have been trapped under Taylor Glacier for more than 1 million years.

The team's study, published in the Journal of Glaciology, describes the brine's 300-foot path from beneath Taylor Glacier to the waterfall. This path has been a mystery since geoscientist Griffith Taylor discovered Blood Falls in 1911.

Lead author Jessica Badgeley, then an undergraduate student at Colorado College, worked with University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit and her research team to understand this unique feature. They used a type of radar to detect the brine feeding Blood Falls.

"The salts in the brine made this discovery possible by amplifying contrast with the fresh glacier ice," Badgeley said. Blood Falls is famous for its sporadic releases of iron-rich salty water. The brine turns red when the iron contacts air.

Ice Cube

Hard freeze kills 95 to 100 percent of France's Alsace vineyard buds

© Alsace Grand Cru stock photo
Temperatures dropped to -7 ° C, reports a reader in France. "About the frosts in different places around Europe in the last days, there have been severe frosts in France in fruit and vine too," writes Philippe in Alsace. "Severe losses in vine in Champagne and Chablis (despite fighting with burning fuel or paraffine in the fields ), Alsace and even in south of France in Languedoc and Provence.

"The crops had 2 weeks advance and the clear sky in the last days allowed these spring frosts. Main frost in Alsace on the early morning of 20th of april, and then on the 21st too. 5°C to 7 °C under zero on the 20th depending on the places.

Here are words from an article that Philippe sent.
Frost and negative (below-zero) temperatures have caused great damage in the vineyards of Alsace, France.

"In many places, there are 95 to 100% loss of buds," says Gérard Schaffar, president of the Turckheim cellar in Haut-Rhin.
Here's the article in French


Turkey greenhouses collapse due to snowfall

13,000 acres of strawberry production are greatly damaged. "This must be the greenhouse effect," says reader. Explaining that the greenhouses had collapsed due to snowfall, İnegöl Chamber of Agriculture President Sezai Çelik said that ​​13 thousand acres of strawberry production was damaged to a great extent.

Strawberries - the fruit called "red gold" - are one of the most important agricultural products of İnegöl, a city in the Bursa Province in Turkey.Sezai Çelik said: "The great majority of the subalterns were damaged and it was not expected to be such a snowfall on April 23."

Farmers worry that after the snowfall may come freezing, which will cause even greater damage. With 190 thousand acres of fruit in the field, we do not want to even think about it, said Celik. Ali Soldildi, a strawberry farmer, said "there is a serious damage to the products because of the untimely falling snow on April 23." Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for this link.

"This must be the greenhouse effect," says Argiris. "Heavy snowfall causes the collapse of the greenhouses."

Snowflake Cold

Snow across Wales as Arctic winds sweep across the country

© Gareth Lloyd Roberts
Snow in Bala on Tuesday morning
Even though it's almost May - heavy snow has fallen across large parts of Wales as a bitter northerly wind hits the country.

From Llanelli to Powys and Bala to Snowdonia , people woke up to a heavy coating of snow on Tuesday morning.

Snow was expected for parts of the country after the Met Office said on Monday that the UK is set to see a change to colder weather with chilly and frosty days.
snow in wales this morning! Its freeeeeezing!!pic.twitter.com/bqHJhiPtud

— Lou (@LouJenksy) April 25, 2017
The icy weather has been brought in by an Arctic maritime airmass spreading southwards across the UK.


13 cm of snowfall as late-season storm hits Regina, Saskatchewan

© Kevin O'Connor/CBC
A late-season snowfall was causing issues on the roads in Regina Monday morning.
People in the Regina area are digging themselves out after an unusual late-season snowstorm.

On Sunday night and Monday morning, around 13 centimetres of snow fell on the city.

According to Environment Canada, a large ridge of arctic high pressure combined with a weather system from Montana to create the lower-than-usual temperatures.

"It was quite a significant snowfall for this time of year," said meteorologist Terri Lang.

I am so going to kick the groundhog's ass #yqr #wtf #snow
— @YQRGopher

The snow covered many highways in the area, leading Highway Hotline to issue Travel Not Recommended advisories from Swift Current to Regina, and north to Davidson.

The snowstorm was also felt in other parts of the province.
An area stretching from Prince Albert to Emma and Christopher Lakes received around 10 centimetres of snow.

Snowflake Cold

April showers? Southern Manitoba hit with snowfall instead

© CTV Winnipeg
Bert Toews cleans the windshield of his car in Winnipeg, Man.
People in southern Manitoba might have been expecting April showers, but in the last day they've seen snow instead.

Up to 25 centimetres of snow could cover parts of Manitoba, including Winnipeg, according to Environment Canada.

The late April snow isn't all that unusual for the region. Winnipeg saw about 22 centimetres of snow in May 2002 and 29 centimetres in May 2004. The white stuff was also seen falling around the city in May 2013, 2014 and 2015.

According to Gary Gerbrandt, owner of Dymamic Auto Services, the snowfall saw six customers cancel their appointments to have their snow tires removed at his auto shop. Manitoba Public Insurance requires studded snow tires to be removed by April 30.

"If you don't feel comfortable driving, just wait," Gerbrandt told CTV Winnipeg. "That's all, no set time."

Another Winnipeg driver, Lucy Pankiw, wasn't fazed by the snow with her all-season tires and drove out to get groceries despite the slushy roads and poor visibility.

Snowflake Cold

April snowfall hits parts of Ireland as temperatures set to plummet to -2C

© Valerie O'Sullivan
Mountaineer Sean Hennessy and spring snow fall on the summit of Cnoc an Chuillin on the McGillycuddy Reeks Killarney (stock)
Parts of Ireland have been hit by snow this afternoon.

People have been taking to Twitter to share their disbelief as the white stuff falls in April.

Amy Canning posted on Twitter: "It's forecast rain, hail and snow for this week. Only in Ireland would that happen and it almost summer."

The forecast for today was a fair 7C and was set to be windy and partly cloudy but it seems snow has hit Co Antrim.

Arctic weather will strike Ireland bringing in freezing temperatures as well as frost and even some snow overnight.

Monday will be a nice mild day for the most part before the cold moves in overnight and stays around for the next couple of days.

Snowflake Cold

Sleet and snowfall hits Scotland as temperatures plunge

Yellow warnings are in place as a cold snap is expected to hit the country
Parts of the country have been hit by heavy sleet and snow showers on Monday amid sub-zero temperatures.

The far north of Scotland is the most affected, with temperatures in some areas of the Highlands possibly falling as low as -6C in the early hours of Tuesday.

While likely to thaw quickly, snow showers accompanied by a strong and gusty wind over the course of Monday could create blizzard-like conditions at higher levels.

Overnight into Tuesday, some areas could be hit by 2cm to 5cm of snow, while wintry showers will remain frequent and heavy in the Highlands throughout the day.

Snowflake Cold

Record snow and cold across Europe with another Arctic front on the way

© Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
Paraffin fire pots protecting the vines against sub-zero temperatures at a vineyard in Switzerland.
Record snow and cold rip across Europe for the third time in three weeks. Another Arctic front is on the way next week as well which will have devastating effects on crops already in the fields. This front will create massive electrical storms in North Africa and Middle East of the likes rarely seen. Record cols in Switzerland & Italy. Record snows across Turkey, Italy, Austria with six feet, Poland over three feet and Norway police asking drivers to stay off the roads from so much snow.

Ice Cube

Antarctica is melting faster than originally thought, new study finds

Seen from an aircraft, a 400-foot-wide waterfall drains off the Nansen Ice Shelf into the ocean.
Researchers at Columbia University's Earth Institute have discovered that the melting of the Antarctic ice is happening at a much faster rate than previously believed.

The researchers, who published in the journal Nature, found enormous amounts of meltwater in places where they didn't expect it, including a 400-foot-wide waterfall on the Nansen ice shelf.

Previously, meltwater was believed to have been confined to the northernmost reaches of Antarctica, the parts that are warming the fastest. The extensiveness of the ice melting could cause sea levels to raise much faster than previously projected, particularly as they increase the likelihood of chunks of the ice shelf breaking off entirely.

"This is not in the future - this is widespread now, and has been for decades," said lead author Jonathan Kingslake, a glaciologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "I think most polar scientists have considered water moving across the surface of Antarctica to be extremely rare. But we found a lot of it, over very large areas."

Comment: Scientists have also discovered a large crack on the Larsen C ice shelf and thousands of blue lakes of melt water have formed on the surface of Antarctica's glaciers over the past decade. Yet a recent study indicates that the Antarctic peninsula has actually been cooling not warming. See also:

Antarctica, is it melting or not? Man-made global warming can't explain this climate paradox