Extreme Temperatures


Homes buried as severe snow strikes Austria

Large parts of Europe have been hit by severe weather, with snow, rain and high winds causing disruption in several countries.

Houses in Austria were buried under a thick blanket of snow, as the BBC's Rebecca Donovan reports.


Record snowfall buries Italian village

Record snowfall in the north of Italy has left some people trapped in their homes.

Villagers in Madesimo had to dig their way out of their properties after several days of wintery weather.

Rebecca Donovan reports.

Ice Cube

CryoSat shows Arctic sea ice volume up 50% from last year

Measurements from ESA's CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this past autumn.

The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year. In October 2013, CryoSat measured about 9000 cubic km of sea ice - a notable increase compared to 6000 cubic km in October 2012.

See evolution:
ice thickness
ice thickness
ice thickness
ice thickness
Over the last few decades, satellites have shown a downward trend in the area of Arctic Ocean covered by ice. However, the actual volume of sea ice has proven difficult to determine because it moves around and so its thickness can change.


Best of the Web: Signs of Change in January 2014

Dazzling green fireball filmed above Belgium, January 2014
Mysterious booms across the US, often occuring in and around earthquakes - A series of unusual earthquakes in Australia - More 'strange sky sounds' - More meteor fireballs raining down - Massive sinkholes swallowing houses, cars and people - Storm after storm battering the UK and Western Europe, bringing massive waves, widespread flooding and landslides - Mass whale stranding in New Zealand - Polar Vortex (twice!) freezing most of the US in ice age conditions and making it colder than Mars - Major flooding in Florida, while hurricane-force winds smash into Oregon and the Carolinas - Tonga flattened by most powerful cyclone to hit the region half a century - A strong earthquake hit Puerto Rico - 100,000 people affected by major flooding in the Philippines, while another 40,000 were displaced by heavy rainfall in Indonesia - Bats falling out of the sky as wildfires rage in Australia's record heatwave - 'Winter wildfires' raging across snow-covered US - An eerily quiet Sun that hasn't been seen since the 17th Century - Several volcanic eruptions in Indonesia causing multiple deaths and the evacuation of thousands - Another strong earthquake in New Zealand - More mass animal deaths, including a whole pod of pilot whales off the coast of Florida - Record-breaking snowfall across the US...

2014 has stated with a bang, literally, with a surge of loud booms being heard and felt throughout much of North America. But then again, didn't the last few years start this way? This video includes strange and extreme weather, geological and cosmic events, covering most of the month of January. Things aren't looking good for certain few heavily populated areas...

Snowflake Cold

Standing Rock Sioux woman dies during propane shortage in sub-zero temperatures

North Dakota mobile home
© AP Photo/The Bismarck Tribune, Tom StrommeThis Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo shows the Fort Yates, North Dakota mobile home where Debbie Dogskin was found dead Tuesday morning with an empty propane tank.

A Standing Rock Sioux member died from hypothermia, authorities believe, due to lack of heat during a propane shortage that recently prompted the tribe to declare a state of emergency. Nearly 90 percent of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation's residents use propane to heat their homes, reported KFYRTV.com.

Debbie Dogskin's adult son, who resided with his mother in the Sioux Village mobile home on the outskirts of Fort Yates, called an ambulance when he found her unresponsive early Tuesday.

When emergency responders arrived, Dogskin's propane tank was empty, and the temperature inside her home matched that of outside, 1 degree below zero. Her portable heater also appeared to be broken, Sioux County Sheriff Frank Landeis told GrandForksHerald.com.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday, with results expected on Friday, Tribal chairman Dave Archambault told BismarckTribune.com.

Lack of propane and frigid temperatures have significantly impacted the Midwest, and the problem is exacerbated on the Standing Rock Reservation plagued by poverty and housing issues. Many tribal members can't afford propane, which has nearly doubled in price per gallon. But costs are expected to decrease soon, Mike Rud, North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association president, told BismarckTribune.com.

Ice Cube

Slovenia looks eerily similar to the "frozen" kingdom of Arendelle

The European country has been paralyzed by severe ice storms. Thousands were left without electricity, 40% of schools were shut, and residents were advised not to drink tap water, the BBC reported.

slowenien, eis
© Srdjan Zivulovic / ReutersIce covers a World War II monument in Pivka.
slowenien, eis
© Srdjan Zivulovic / ReutersIce-covered road signs in Postojna.


America's changing tornado patterns‏

© NOAAOklahoma's tornado count well above average in 2013, NOAA says.

Oklahoma's 79 tornadoes in 2013 was the second-greatest total in the nation, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The total topped the state's average of 57 tornadoes per year between 1981 and 2010, according to NOAA data. But the number didn't eclipse the 145 reported in 1999, the most since officials began recording tornado data in 1950.

Kansas, Texas and Florida annually average more. Only Texas, with 81 tornadoes in 2013, had more than Oklahoma last year.

Bacon n Eggs

Climate change will drive up global food prices by at least another 25%

© Mountain Republic
The agricultural industry is notoriously slow to react to changing conditions, which leads some researchers to believe that climate change will inevitably lead to higher food prices in the future.

According to research done by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, climate change will likely contribute to increasing prices for basic foodstuffs in the coming decades. The study suggests that, as in the past, the agricultural industry cannot adapt to the changing climate, and everything it entails, leading to a drop in food production.

Of course, the result is not the same everywhere, as shortened growing seasons in one area may reduce food production, lengthened growing seasons in other areas may increase food production. At the same time, climate change may increase the incidence of agricultural pests and diseases in certain areas, reducing food production. Climate-change-driven rainfall, sunlight, and temperature variations also account for drastic changes in food production.

Comment: The global food crisis is not going to get any better:

Climate change could lead to global food crisis, scientists warn
Food prices to rise 40%, study says
Global food system vulnerable due to growing population and climate change
Climate Change to Cut Crop Yields, Boost Prices, Study Shows
Billions face climate change risk
Recipe for Catastrophe: Climate, Fuel, and Food

Start canning and preserving your own healthful foods. Visit our forum here and here to learn more about preparing for what's coming next.


Heaven and Earth: Unusual natural events and strange phenomena from around the world in January 2014

© AP
This video compiles footages of strange phenomena of all kinds, including awesome natural events or beautiful phenomena from around the world in the last few weeks.

In just the last couple of weeks, we've seen:

Volcanic eruptions in Sicily and Indonesia and elsewhere - 'Sky trumpet sounds' in Iceland, and loud booms shaking homes all over the US - Large earthquake in New Zealand, and an ongoing heatwave in Australia - Giant boulders falling off a mountain Italy and record flooding across Europe - More 'spinning ice-river' circles, this time in Norway - Strange cloud cover producing pretty sunsets and unusual light refraction, including a spectacular sun halo over Moscow - More mass animal deaths - More meteor fireballs falling from the sky, and 'hole-punch clouds'! - More UFO sightings - Massive electrical storms, including a super-electrical storm in Rio de Janeiro that produced an interesting omen: a thunderbolt struck the giant statue of Jesus above the city!... There were also major electrical storms in Europe... and this in the middle of winter! - Tornado outbreaks in the UK, which are unusual even in the summer - Thousands of wildfires breaking out in some of the coldest places on the planet - UK's wettest January in 250 years as the island continues to be pummeled with storm after storm...

I covered events from earlier in January and late December 2013 here.

Check out the rest of this series here.


Greenland: Once a Viking paradise

temperature variations
© NOAAGreenland’s temperature variations: comparing 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The "Little Ice Age" impact on Europe was sudden and ferocious.

Using its weapons of plague, famine and (perhaps controversially) earthquake, the so-called "Little Ice age" reduced the population of Europe by around 30 to 50 percent. The virulence and death toll of the 1348 AD plague is totally unmatched by modern examples. Further, the world mega-famine of 1315 AD, due to both weather and pestilence, was catastrophic. The relentless temperature drops combined with erratic weather are nearly impossible to explain, but mankind had no hand in its inception. What forces of nature caused this catastrophic scenario? Greenland is a classic example of death and abandonment. Let's travel back in time and see what happened.

Although the Little Ice Age is a scientific reconstruction, it covers a period when there was a significant and chaotic down-turn in climate, compared to the present era. It is classified into four periods from around 1280 AD to 1850 AD. These erratic cold periods are referred to as the Wolf, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton weather minima. Those dramatic climatic deteriorations were not only cooler, wetter and windier on average, but also vastly more chaotic in their fluctuations, creating the prime ingredients for famine and (curiously) plague.

The Little Ice Age followed a period known as the "Medieval Maximum" that is dated to between 900 AD - 1280 AD, which copious records reveal was much warmer than modern times. For instance, grapevines grew in the area of today's shivering Wales! This was generally a period of prosperity for civilizations. There was a large increase in world population and an era of colonial expansion. During the years 800 AD - 1200 AD, Greenland and Iceland were settled by the Vikings. The "Medieval Warm Period" allowed this great migration to flourish. Drift ice at later dates posed the greatest hazard to sailors but reports of drift ice in old records do not appear until the thirteenth century.