Extreme Temperatures

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Rising food prices: Frost damages nearly a fifth of Brazil's sugar cane crop

Sao Paulo - Last week's frosts in southern Brazil damaged nearly a fifth of the unharvested cane crop in the principal growing region, an event likely to cut sugar exports from the world's largest producer, agriculture research company Datagro said Wednesday.

Severe early morning frosts on July 24 and 25 in three of Brazil's top sugar-cane states devastated large areas, Datagro President Plinio Nastari told Reuters. The cold blight comes at the peak the crushing season when more than half of Brazil's expected record 590-million-tonne crop remains unharvested.

Although Nastari was unable to say how much mill-output will drop or reduce a global sugar glut that has pushed prices to three-year lows, he said 65 million metric tons, or 18 percent of the cane standing uncut in fields was damaged by the frost.

Frost in tropical Brazil has long been a weather risk for global coffee markets. This frost, though, is the first in recent history that threatens to significantly cut sugar output and it's impact will likely extend into the next harvest too.


Minnesota - July cold breaks 102-year-old record

Cold Snap
© Mavis FodnessShown is tractor driver Sharla Drew instructing Trisha Jessen (left) and Ryley Gorter on how to maneuver the baler down the raked alfalfa rows south of Pipestone. On the hay rack, Matt Jessen shows 9-year-old Brandon Gorter how to stack the small squares.
Sweatshirts aren't the usual attire for baling hay, but a cold snap made the job more pleasant last week as this group made a second cutting for Gary Gorter.

Weekend temperatures in Pipestone plummeted to lows not seen for 102 years as a cold air mass from northern Canada slipped down into the region.

Temperatures of 39 degree and 38 degrees were recorded in Pipestone on Saturday morning, July 27 and Sunday morning, July 28 respectively, according to Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service meteorologist out of Sioux Falls, S.D.

The lows broke the record of 42 degrees set in 1911.

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Terrible year for white storks in Czech Republic as cold weather kills a generation

Very few storks fledged in 2013 - If any

© Valter JacintoA terrible year for breeding white storks in the Czech Republic.
White storks suffered their worst breeding year on record in the Czech Republic, as the cold weather put paid to nearly a whole generation. Almost all of the chicks that did hatch didn't survive the severe weather which prevailed in Bohemia just as the birds were nesting.

Czech conservationists monitor the population of white storks at 285 sites across 25 districts of the Czech Republic annually. In 15 of the monitored districts there were 80 percent fewer chicks than last year and in 10 districts no chicks survived at all! To make matters even worse, it is very unlikely that the few chicks that have survived this far are unlikely to fledge successfully. The final assessment of this calamitous situation with nesting will be carried out in the autumn.


Solar Cycle #24: On track to be the weakest in 100 years

© Hathaway/NASA/MSFCProjected vs observed sunspot numbers for solar cycles #23 & #24.
Our nearest star has exhibited some schizophrenic behavior thus far for 2013.

By all rights, we should be in the throes of a solar maximum, an 11-year peak where the Sun is at its most active and dappled with sunspots.

Thus far though, Solar Cycle #24 has been off to a sputtering start, and researchers that attended the meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Physics Division earlier this month are divided as to why."Not only is this the smallest cycle we've seen in the space age, it's the smallest cycle in 100 years," NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center research scientist David Hathaway said during a recent press teleconference conducted by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Cycle #23 gave way to a profound minimum that saw a spotless Sol on 260 out of 365 days (71%!) in 2009. Then, #Cycle 24 got off to a late start, about a full year overdue - we should have seen a solar maximum in 2012, and now that's on track for the late 2013 to early 2014 time frame. For solar observers, both amateur, professional and automated, its seems as if the Sun exhibits a "split-personality" this year, displaying its active Cycle #24-self one week, only to sink back into a blank despondency the next.


Germany hailstorm: Wassel hit by giant hailstones

A severe hailstorm hit German village of Wassel in Sehnte Saturday evening.

German hailstones were the size of tennis balls. Hailstones damaged roofs, windows and several vehicles, local medias reported.

The most catastrophic hailstorm in Europe struck Munich, Germany on July 12, 1984. Germany hailstorm damaged some 70,000 homes and injured 400 people. Germany hailstorm damage was estimated at over US$2 billion.

Below is a raw you tube video of German hailstorm by Associated Press.


Best of the Web: UK National Farmers' Union president: Extreme weather threatens to wipe out British farming - how is UK to feed itself?

From this...
Extreme weather being driven by climate change is the biggest threat to British farming and its ability to feed the nation's growing population, according to Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union.

His comments, in an interview with the Guardian, come after a week of intense weather extremes. Last Monday, west London experienced the hottest day for seven years, while on Tuesday the drought in many parts of the country came to an end with intense thunderstorms that brought almost a month of rain in a day to parts of Worcestershire. Torrential downpours also put a dampener on the first weekend of the school summer holidays, with flash-flooding in parts of the south-east and the Midlands.

"The biggest uncertainty for UK agriculture is extreme weather events," said Kendall, who grows wheat and barley on the 250-hectare (620 acre) farm in Bedfordshire he runs with his brother. "I sometimes have a pop at those who say climate change is going to help farming in northern Europe.

Comment: See also: Rising food prices, climate change and global 'unrest'

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Scotland's sea birds in big decline after hard winter

© Kaleel Zibe (rspb-images.com)Guillemots have declined by 46%
Scotland's seabirds continue to struggle

The coldest spring in more than 50 years has taken a toll on Scotland's seabirds as early monitoring shows adult birds have arrived late for the breeding season and in poor condition.

Harsh winter

Harsh weather conditions earlier this year have added to the considerable long-term challenges seabirds face including lack of food due to the impact of climate change on the marine food chain, and poor management of human activities in the marine environment.

Kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills

Colony counts on RSPB Scotland reserves across the country from the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland to the Firth of Clyde, reveal a similar picture with species like kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills showing some of the steepest declines in number of birds present.


Brazil's 'largest snow in decades': Snow in over 80 cities, roads and schools closed

The mass of polar air that passed through Argentina before coming to Brazil at the end of last week dropped snow in at least 87 cities of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

The cold wave, which reaches South, Southeast, Midwest, and up to two northern states of the country (Rondônia and Acre), is the longest in 13 years, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet).

"Should greatly disrupt agriculture"

"There were 17 days in all. Now, there are already seven days with temperatures below zero, and certainly this will continue until Friday, which should greatly disrupt agriculture, especially citrus plantations and lettuce, and bring problems health," says meteorologist Lucia Gularte of Inmet.

Among the places hit by the snow are two capitals: Curitiba and Florianópolis. In Curitiba, the record snow made on Tuesday by Simepar Meteorological Institute is the first since 1975.


Chile experiences coldest day of 2013

© Ashoka Jegroo / The Santiago TimesSantiago recorded its coldest day of the year Monday morning.
Record low temperatures hit Chile with many parts of Santiago experiencing temperatures below freezing Monday as fresh snow falls in the Andes.

Santiago and other cities were affected by record low temperatures during the past few days, with some areas reaching as low as 16.8 F (-8.4 C) Monday.

The south central area of Chile faced the coldest temperatures of the year on Monday with below-freezing temperatures expected to continue until Tuesday, according to the Chilean Meteorological Office (DMC).

Chilean students received a cold welcome back from their winter vacation as Santiago's lowest temperature of the year came in at 26.6 F (-3 C) in Quinta Normal at 6:56 a.m. Monday morning. Santiago saw a high of 55.4 F (13 C). Just outside of the capital, Lampa claimed the country's record low temperature of the year with shivering lows of 16.8 F (-8.4 C). Calera de Tango in the Valparaíso Region clocked in with a low of 25.5 F (-3.6 C).


Cold snap leaves six dead across Argentina

Snpw in Argentina
© Buenos Aires HeraldMendoza province experienced heavy snowfall as a consequence of the intense cold.
Recent polar temperatures that for the last five days have affected almost all of Argentina have left a tragic outcome: at least six people have died as a consequence of the cold in various parts of the country.

In Catamarca province, a 51-year-old man died of a heart attack caused by hypothermia, in his Altos de Choya home. In the Parque Norte Oeste district of Catamarca, meanwhile, a 19-year-old disabled youth also lost his life.

In the early hours of Monday morning Jose Romera, a homeless man aged 47, was discovered in the streets of Andresito, Misiones, and was pronounced dead also due to hypothermia.

In Salta, meanwhile, a three-year-old boy was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, a consequence of fumes from a heater which had been turned on to combat the intense cold.

Early morning temperatures in Buenos Aires dropped as low as 1.6°C, before rising to 10° in the afternoon. Similar numbers are forecast for Wednesday, before the rest of the week sees a slight increase in temperature.

In parts of Jujuy and Mendoza provinces, meanwhile, locals suffered with temperatures of up to -10°C.