Extreme Temperatures


Ice Age: Record low temperature of -2C ends Britain's miserable, wettest summer ever

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    © Jonathan Pow
    On same day Met Office reveal it's been the wettest summer ever, temperatures plunged to almost record summer lows overnight
  • Braemar is Scotland was the coldest spot as it dropped to -2.1C
  • There has only been one August night colder, August 21 1973, when Lagganlia in the Highlands suffered -4.5C
  • It tops off a miserable summer, which has been the wettest in a century, causing flash floods only yesterday
  • Traffic congestion as parents return from family holidays ahead of children going back to school next week with M25 delayed in both directions
Britain's rotten summer hit a new low last night as it suffered its coldest August evening in 40 years - but that didn't stop children making the most of their last few days off from school.


Low sunspot activity linked to rivers freezing: Mini Ice Age on way?

'CO2 is certainly a climate factor, but so is the Sun'

A team of boffins in Germany say they have found a statistical link between periods of low solar activity and very cold winters in Europe. Some physicists believe that a long period of low solar activity - like the "Maunder Minimum" of the 17th and 18th centuries - could be on the cards in coming decades, so the new research might indicate an upcoming "mini Ice Age".

The new study was published over the weekend in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Lead author Professor-Doktor Frank Sirocko of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität (University) of Mainz in Germany - and his colleagues - compared old records showing which years the Rhine river iced over to the record of sunspot activity.


Last ice age ended 'very quickly'

© ANSTO Research Selections 2011View of the Prince Charles Mountain flanking the Lambert Glacier near Loewe Massif on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
A novel technique for dating the 'exposure age' of rocks is uncovering how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet responded to past climate change.

"We found two really unexpected results," said Duanne White, a geoscientist at the University of Canberra, who is part of a group of researchers using the new dating technique.

"Previously it had been thought that during the last Ice Age the Ice Sheet expanded all the way out to the continental shelf and was a thousand metres thicker at the margin. But we found quite the opposite - along the whole length of the Lambert Glacier, there was only a relatively small change.

"But the kicker for us was this happened very soon after global temperatures and sea level began to rise at the end of the last Ice Age. So while the response wasn't large at that particular time, it happened very quickly."

Comment: A Different Kind of Catastrophe - Something Wicked This Way Comes


Researchers find first hardy Irish plant that beat Ice Age

© TigerenteArenaria ciliata (Fringed Sandwort)
The history books will have to be rewritten after researchers uncovered a super resilient plant which survived the Ice Age in Ireland.

Up to now most scientists agreed that Ireland's flora and fauna emerged or came here after the end of the Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago.

However, this latest discovery by a research team from NUI Maynooth, pushes back this date to a much earlier time.

The team, led by ecologist Dr Conor Meade, developed a new DNA analysis method to unravel the complex history of the Fringed Sandwort, a rare cold-loving herb that only grows on the high slopes of Ben Bulben in Co Sligo.

Researchers collected the plant on mountain peaks all over Europe, from Spain and Italy up to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle, and then completed detailed genetic analyses.

The new analysis method, based on a process called DNA melting, greatly improves the accuracy of existing DNA analysis and helped to reveal previously unknown levels of genetic diversity in the Irish populations.


Global WARMING? Only Six Days of Summer in Stockholm this Year

"Summer weather was miserable - now there's proof," says this article out of Sweden.

According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), on only six days this summer did the temperature reach more than 25 degrees Celsius in Stockholm.

Last year, Stockholm had 28 days with summer weather, ie days with a minimum temperature of 25 degrees. This year, just six days met this definition - 4 days in July and two in August. Recent summers have not even come close to having as few summer days.

Gothenburg had only five summer days this year. Malmo had nine, about as few as last year.


After 32,000 Years, an Ice Age Flower Blooms Again

© AP/Institute of Biophysics of the Russian Academy of SciencesThis campion plant grew from a 32,000-year-old fruit.
Deep in the frozen tundra of northeastern Siberia, a squirrel buried fruits some 32,000 years ago from a plant that bore white flowers. This winter a team of Russian scientists announced that they had unearthed the fruit and brought tissue from it back to life. The fruits are about 30,000 years older than the Israeli date palm seed that previously held the record as the oldest tissue to give life to healthy plants.

The researchers were studying ancient soil composition in an exposed Siberian riverbank in 1995 when they discovered the first of 70 fossilized Ice Age squirrel burrows, some of which stored up to 800,000 seeds and fruits. Permafrost had preserved tissue from one species - a narrow-leafed campion plant - exceptionally well, so researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences recently decided to culture the cells to see if they would grow. Team leader Svetlana Yashina re-created Siberian conditions in the lab and watched as the refrigerated tissue sprouted buds that developed into 36 flowering plants within weeks.

This summer Yashina's team plans to revisit the tundra to search for even older burrows and seeds.


US record low temperatures outpace record highs 127 to 4 this weekend

Since we were treated to scads of news articles by the MSM on how many record highs happened in July, it seems only fair that we report on the multitude of record lows that occurred this weekend in the USA, and I doubt we'll see the sort of coverage the highs got. A number of these record lows go back into the past 100 years or more.
Here's a map for the weekend:
US low temps map
Click here for interactive source data


Australia's Coldest August Night on Record

A blast of polar air from a cold-front in southern Australia last week managed to push all the way up to the tropics. Darwin shivered through it's coldest August night on record Monday after the temperature dropped to just 13.1C Monday, more than seven degrees below the August average minimum of 20.4C.


Ice Age Cometh? Big Snow Forecast For Eastern U.S. Cities

After a 2011-2012 winter that saw little snow, the mid-Atlantic and southern New England states will get a snow dump this winter, forecasters say. Above-normal snowfall during winter 2012-2013 is forecast for the major I-95 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, AccuWeather.com reported Wednesday.

"The I-95 cities could get hit pretty good," forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "It's a matter of getting the cold to phase in with the huge systems that we are going to see coming out of the southern branch of the jet stream this year."


Little Ice Age Thermometers- Historic Variations in Temperatures Confirms Extended Period of Warming Before Rapid Cooling

This short paper is a preliminary examination of BEST data to 1753, as compared to the Central England Temperature Record (CET) to 1660 (instrumental record) and 1538 (Extended by Tony Brown using thousands of contemporary observations).

CET extended and BEST temp graph
This extension to 1538 was a central part of my article 'The Long Slow Thaw,' which also examined historic temperature reconstructions by Dr Michael Mann and Hubert Lamb.

In the article, warming from the start of the CET instrumental record in 1660 to the present day was noted, albeit with numerous advances and reverses.

The extended CET record coincides well with a 2000 year reconstruction by Craig Loehle here.

And one by M. V. SHABALOVA and A. F. V. VAN ENGELEN : 'Evaluation of a reconstruction of winter and summer temperatures in the Low Countries, ad 764 - 1998' here.

According to studies made by a number of climate scientists, CET is a reasonable proxy for Northern Hemisphere -and to some extent global temperatures- as documented in 'The Long Slow Thaw'. However, as Hubert Lamb observed, it can 'show us the tendency but not the precision'. In that light there are a number of comments that can be made about the Combined CET/BEST graph which are shown above in two versions that, viewed together, provide the opportunity to follow the ups and down of the ever changing climate over the 350 years of instrumental records.

(Note; The BEST extension to 1538 and the extension to both trend lines after 2012 in the first graphic are merely a graphing feature.)