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Mon, 11 Dec 2023
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Extreme Temperatures


Snow cover in the U.S. Lower 48 is at record levels as November starts

Snow depth as of Wednesday. (NOAA NOHRSC)
Snow depth as of Wednesday.
The season's first snows have frosted the Rocky Mountains, the northern Plains, the Great Lakes and northern New England over the past week, resulting in the most extensive early-November snow cover in at least two decades.

On Wednesday morning, snow was on the ground in 17.9 percent of the Lower 48, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Locations from eastern Minnesota to western New York saw snow on Halloween — even enough to shovel in Minneapolis; Milwaukee; Muskegon, Mich.; and Buffalo. Areas downwind of Lakes Erie and Ontario were also blanketed early Wednesday, including Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, while several inches were anticipated along some of the west-facing slopes of the Appalachian Mountains.

This latest batch of wintry weather comes on the heels of two other storm systems that brought snow to the Mountain West, the northern Plains, the Midwest and northern New England over the past week.


Row crop harvest grinds to a halt after rain, snow and cold hit northern US Plains

A winter storm on Oct. 26-27, 2023, halted the soybean harvest in areas of North Dakota.
© Ann Bailey
A winter storm on Oct. 26-27, 2023, halted the soybean harvest in areas of North Dakota.
Snow and unseasonably cold temperatures put fall harvest on hold across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota in late October.

A winter storm that moved across the northern Plains on Oct. 26-27 dumped as much as 18 inches of snow in the Walsh County, North Dakota, town of Lankin, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Other double digit amounts were 14 inches in Washburn and Harvey and 11 inches, in Minot and Williston.
Further east, Leeds reported 8 inches and Larimore and Grafton reported 8.5 inches.

Low temperatures plummeted into the teens in the snow-covered areas after the storm and daily highs remained below freezing for several days the next week.

Meanwhile, some areas of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota in which temperatures were too warm for snow to develop, received rain, delaying harvest of the row crops.


South African residents wake up to snow-covered mountains, gardens in spring

Residents in some parts of the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal woke up to the breathtaking sight of snow covering nearby mountains and their gardens on Tuesday.

Barkley East, Elliot, and parts of Matatiele, south of the Drakensberg, have been turned into a winter wonderland.

Snow has capped the Sneeuberg, Winterberg and the Drakensberg mountains.

The SA Weather Service said other parts of the country that experienced snowfalls were the eastern parts of the Free State and mountainous parts of KwaZulu-Natal.


Aspen Snowmass pounded by snowmageddon! - 2 feet of snow in 24 hours

It sounds like the plot to a highly questionable adult documentary, but it's true. Hey, I'm just quoting Open Snow.

The 'Mass and Highlands got "24 inches in 24 hours."

Everyone in the 'hood here in the RFV has been posting and reporting pics of the measuring stick at AS this morning.

And in the wake of this white tsunami, that "stake" is lookin' mighty short.


Ancient landscape not seen for 14 million years discovered beneath Antarctic ice

Antarctica Below the Ice
© Stewart Jamieson
Researchers have uncovered an ancient landscape that remained hidden beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) for at least 14 million years, using new satellite data and radar imaging.

This newly discovered landscape consists of ancient valleys and ridges, not dissimilar in size and scale to the glacially-modified landscape of North Wales, UK.

With ice-penetrating radar and satellite data, Durham University glaciologist Stewart Jamieson and colleagues mapped the topographic features of the landscape hidden beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, to get a better understanding of how the ice sheet has fluctuated over time.

The researchers say preserved landscapes like this provide a rare opportunity to examine past ice conditions, but warming temperatures mean we are on track to return to the climate conditions that existed before the landscape was frozen, and it is possible that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet will retreat enough to change the landscape for the first time in at least 14 million years.

"The land underneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is less well known than the surface of Mars," explained study author Professor Stewart Jamieson in a statement. "And that's a problem because that landscape controls the way that ice in Antarctica flows, and it controls the way it might respond to past, present and future climate change."


Foot of snow in 24 hours for 2 ski resorts in Oregon

Finger licking good, Bruno enjoying the snowfalls at Timberline Lodge, OR.

Finger licking good, Bruno enjoying the snowfalls at Timberline Lodge, OR.
An arctic airmass has brought the first serious snowfall to Oregon, delivering some early season powdery delight to Oregon ski areas. The Santiam Pass between Willamette Valley and Central Oregon was covered in snow and the Oregon Department of Transportation ('ODOT') have been busy keeping roads safe.

Mt Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge have received around a foot of snow in the last 24 hours and some eager souls have hiked out there to get the first freshies of the season, including videographer Pete Alport. Check out his incredible footage below from his first turns of the season in Oregon.


First major storm of the season drops 2 feet of snow in 2 days in Montana (UPDATE)

A person clears a snow-covered sidewalk in Helena, Mont., on Wednesday.
© Amy Beth Hanson
A person clears a snow-covered sidewalk in Helena, Mont., on Wednesday.
The first major snowstorm of the season dropped up to a foot of snow in the Helena, Mont., area by Wednesday morning, canceling some school bus routes on the western side of the city as snow continued to fall throughout the morning.

Residents woke up to swirling snow, the sound of shovels on sidewalks and snowplows on pavement just days after temperatures rose into the lower 80s. Trees with orange leaves and Halloween decorations were weighed down with snow.

The National Weather Service warned of hazardous travel on snowy mountain passes and ice on some highways when snow initially melts and then freezes as road temperatures drop.

Comment: Update October 27

Krtv.com reports:
The first big snowstorm of the season was a good one! Most locations in the state at least a few inches of snow, and a few locations saw up to two feet. The snow began falling late Tuesday and continued throughout Wednesday and into Thursday.

Most of the snow accumulation is now done with, but roads are going to continue to be icy/snow-covered for the next couple of days, so please use extreme caution when driving and give yourself some extra time to get to where you need to go.


10 inches of snow hits Colorado resort, with more wintery weather on the way

© kwphotography (iStock).
Snow stakes that measure how much fresh powder has landed show about 10 inches of snow at Aspen Snowmass since the start of an ongoing storm in Colorado. More snow is expected to fall into Friday morning.

This is on par with the prediction for the area, give or take a couple inches. Other ski areas in the Aspen area show about five to six inches on their snow stakes.

Nearby, Independence Pass, which reaches 12,095 feet of elevation, is also under a temporary closure. Closures of this nature are normal when wintery weather rolls through, with the seasonal closure for this iconic pass typically being put in place around November 7.

More snow is expected to keep falling in Colorado, totaling 18 to 24 inches in some mountainous areas in the northern portion of the state.

Those traveling mountain roads should proceed with caution, as roads will likely be slick and visibility may be limited.


A foot of fresh October snow in 24 hours at Alta Ski Area, Utah

Winter has temporarily arrived in Utah and Alta Ski Area saw 9-12 inches over the past 24 hours. It ain't deep, but it's enough for The Daily POW guys to get out there and make some turns down Gunsight.
"Winter has arrived in Utah and the storm total at Alta was 9 inches from this recent storm but it definitely felt deeper up towards the top of Gunsight. Most other areas looked very bony still and Gunsight had a solid ribbon of white from top to bottom so our decision was easy.

The top entry was a little rocky but we've skied it on worse. Skier's right had the deepest snow. Our exit out Greely Hill was bushy good lovin'. We cruised back to the car happy to officially start the 2023-2024 winter."

- The Daily POW


Researchers identify largest ever solar storm in tree rings  

Solar Storm
Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. Suggested imagery from NASA, as recommended by our researchers.
An international team of scientists have discovered a huge spike in radiocarbon levels 14,300 years ago by analysing ancient tree-rings found in the French Alps.

The radiocarbon spike was caused by a massive solar storm, the biggest ever identified. A similar solar storm today would be catastrophic for modern technological society - potentially wiping out telecommunications and satellite systems, causing massive electricity grid blackouts, and costing us billions of pounds.

The academics are warning of the importance of understanding such storms to protect our global communications and energy infrastructure for the future.


The collaborative research, which was carried out by an international team of scientists, is published today (Oct 9) in The Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences and reveals new insights into the Sun's extreme behaviour and the risks it poses to Earth.

A team of researchers from the Collège de France, CEREGE, IMBE, Aix-Marseille University and the University of Leeds measured radiocarbon levels in ancient trees preserved within the eroded banks of the Drouzet River, near Gap, in the Southern French Alps.

The tree trunks, which are subfossils - remains whose fossilisation process is not complete - were sliced into tiny single tree-rings. Analysis of these individual rings identified an unprecedented spike in radiocarbon levels occurring precisely 14,300 years ago. By comparing this radiocarbon spike with measurements of beryllium, a chemical element found in Greenland ice cores, the team proposes that the spike was caused by a massive solar storm that would have ejected huge volumes of energetic particles into Earth's atmosphere.

Edouard Bard, Professor of Climate and Ocean Evolution at the Collège de France and CEREGE, and lead author of the study, said: "Radiocarbon is constantly being produced in the upper atmosphere through a chain of reactions initiated by cosmic rays. Recently, scientists have found that extreme solar events including solar flares and coronal mass ejections can also create short-term bursts of energetic particles which are preserved as huge spikes in radiocarbon production occurring over the course of just a single year."