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Mon, 16 Jan 2017
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Extreme Temperatures


Record snow falls in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia; 27 inches above normal

© Via Instrgram/janet_panova
An unusually snowy start to the season.

As a rule, in the middle of December snow depth in Krasnaya Polyana rarely reaches 30 cm (12 inches).

This year, it had already recorded 99 cm (39 inches) by 12 December!


First snow of the season covers war-torn Aleppo as evacuations continue

© Ruptly
The first snow has settled on the smithereens of an Aleppo district as the last remaining militants depart the city they had inhabited for years.

The drone footage captured on Wednesday shows piles of rubble and partially destroyed houses covered with snow in the heavily-damaged Aleppo district of Seif Al-Dawla.

The district reportedly remains one of the last areas of the city to be partially controlled by militants. Syrian Arab Republic flags, however, can still be seen flying on a couple of ruined buildings.

Militants and civilians reportedly gathered to be evacuated.

Comment: There are also a countless numbers of road closures in Syria due to snow accumulation.

Snowflake Cold

Biting cold below minus 60C recorded in western Siberia

© Elina Kadochnikova
Such temperatures happen in eastern Siberia, but in the west they are more rare.
The freeze is so deep that horses - and even Rudolph - is brought indoors to warm up.

This is not a week when there was any evidence of global warming in western Siberia, with thermometers plunging to the minus 40s and minus 62 Celsius. Meteorologists say it may get colder still.

At Bolshoe Olkhovskoe oilfield there was a new record for the Khanti-Mansi region with a bone-crushing temperature of minus 62C. The village of Kazym in the same district of Beloyarsky hit minus 58C.

Eyelashes got frosty extensions from nature's own cosmetics, as our amazing pictures show. Beards turned prematurely white.

A video was posted entitled: 'Surgut men are so hardy they only ride on a swing and eat ice cream at minus 51C.'

In Nadym, it nudged minus 50C, and all schools were closed. In Tyumen, school classes were cancelled from grades 1 to 9, with minus 36C the trigger for children to stay home, although elsewhere in Siberia - for example Yakutia in recent weeks - students are still expected in school at below minus 52C.

Nizhnevartovsk hit minus 50C, the coldest winter in ten years in the city. School classes were cancelled today - and for the rest of the week.

Such temperatures happen in eastern Siberia, but in the west they are more rare.


First snow in over 2 decades engulfs Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, one of the rare year-round sunny spots in Turkey, was taken over by snowfall yesterday and Wednesday, the first such precipitation since 1993.

The snowfall in the Turkish Riviera, a popular vacation spot, blocked roads and led to the closure of schools in four districts.

Tourists and locals were surprised by the sudden snowfall that has already paralyzed daily life in other parts of the country. Temperatures dropped as low as 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit), although the area was still hotter compared to the minus 20 degrees Celsius temperatures in eastern Turkey.

The snowfall particularly affected the higher areas in the city, Kepezüstü district in particular, which is located some 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from central Antalya. Traffic on the road connecting central Antalya to the Korkuteli district also came to a halt due to heavy snowfall, which blanketed the natural and man-made beauties the city boasts, from the ancient city of Thermessos to the forests north of the city, which are situated along the Mediterranean coast.

Ice Cube

Wall of 'icy fog' appears at Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota

Wall of 'sea smoke' at Lake Superior.
In a rare atmospheric phenomenon, an enormous wall of icy fog has been filmed billowing over Lake Superior in Minnesota.

The fog was filmed by local photographer Levi Drevlow on December 18, and it looks like something out of a disaster movie, dwarfing a freighter in the port of Duluth as it fearlessly steers straight towards the snowy fog bank.

While scary-looking, the cloud is actually quite natural, the result of a quick temperature drop to -18 Celsius (about -0.4 Fahrenheit). The difference between cold air and warm water is what sent the dense vapor hundreds of feet upwards above the largest of North America's Great Lakes.

Comment: This is actually the second time it has happened there this year. (No, it doesn't normally happen there.)


Extreme cold breaking records in northern Siberia; 10 degrees or lower below normal

The average temperature in European Russia, the Ural Mountains and Siberia is 10 degrees, or lower, below normal

During all days of December, the average temperature has not come close to normal. The temperature in the Khanty-Mansiysk dropped to -43ºC, setting a new daily record. The previous record was -39.6 degrees in 1937. In Salekhard, it fell to -41.5 degrees, also a new record.

And last night in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the temperature dropped to -43ºC, -46ºC.

Temperature map:
© gismetro.ru

Comment: Siberia already being clobbered with snow - portends harsh U.S. winter ahead


Anomalous snow storm blankets desert in Saudi Arabia

Snow fell over the northern part of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.

You don't believe me? Look at these pictures and videos captured by residents of different towns in Northern Borders Region, close to Jordan.

After Algeria and the Sahara Desert, it is now the northern part of Saudi Arabia that is covered by snow... Another weather anomaly!

Heavy snow fall suspended daily life in northern areas as temperature fell below freezing point on December 20, 2016 afternoon.

© VK.com
Snow in Saudi Arabia
© VK.com

Comment: See also: Algerian villagers stunned as snow falls in Sahara for first time in over 30 years


Potent storm to bring blizzard conditions to central U.S. Christmas weekend

A potent storm will cause dangerous blizzard conditions, resulting in major travel disruptions, over the central United States during Christmas weekend.

A storm more similar to November or March will swing northeastward over the northern Plains during Christmas Day. The storm will deliver everything from a wintry mix and a blizzard to drenching rain and severe thunderstorms to portions of the central United States.
Snow to spread southward along Interstate 25 Saturday

After departing the Intermountain West with moderate snow and slippery travel conditions, the storm will emerge over the High Plains and begin to strengthen.

Travel conditions will deteriorate from north to south over the Interstate 25 corridor during Saturday around Billings, Montana, to Casper, Wyoming, during Saturday evening and then the Denver area beginning late Saturday night.

Snow will also develop and spread eastward over the northern Plains. The snow will spread into Bismarck, North Dakota, on Saturday, then to Rapid City, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota, during Saturday night.


DNA helps Inuits survive Arctic cold

© UC Berkeley
Seals and walruses were part of the traditional diet of the Inuit, as seen in this illustration of a native village on Canada’s Baffin Island, from the book Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux (1865) by Charles Francis Hall.
In the Arctic, the Inuits have adapted to severe cold and a predominantly seafood diet. After the first population genomic analysis of the Greenland Inuits ( Fumagalli, Moltke et al.2015, Science), a region in the genome containing two genes has now been scrutinized by scientists: TBX15 and WARS2. This region is thought to be central to cold adaptation by generating heat from a specific type of body fat, and was earlier found to be a candidate for adaptation in the Inuits.

Now, a team of scientists led by Fernando Racimo, Rasmus Nielsen et al. have followed up on the first natural selection study in Inuits to trace back the origins of these adaptations.

To perform the study, they used the genomic data from nearly 200 Greenlandic Inuits and compared this to the 1000 Genomes Project and ancient hominid DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans. The results, published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, provide convincing evidence that the Inuit variant of the TBX15/WARS2 region first came into modern humans from an archaic hominid population, likely related to the Denisovans.

"The Inuit DNA sequence in this region matches very well with the Denisovan genome, and it is highly differentiated from other present-day human sequences, though we can't discard the possibility that the variant was introduced from another archaic group whose genomes we haven't sampled yet." - said Fernando Racimo, lead author of the study.


Warmest December day on record in Miami

While the rest of the US suffers dramatic cold Miami experiences 24 month long heat records
On Sunday, Miami set a new record for the warmest December day ever. Monday shattered another record, with the highest high at 86 degrees. With less than two weeks to go, it's too soon to say if December 2016 will top December 2015, which now holds the record for Miami's hottest December. But bet on it being the polar opposite of back-to-back Arctic blasts gripping other parts of the country this holiday season.

"It's not just hot, it's so humid, too," said University of Miami tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy. "It's as if winter or fall never happened."