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Mon, 16 Jan 2017
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Extreme Temperatures


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."

Arrow Down

The Hunger Games Russian style

© The Siberian Times
Their target: to survive until 1 April - but it will be no joke.
These are the rules to new TV reality show, an ultimate 9-month Siberian survival test stranded in remote taiga with bears and wolves in minus 40C winter.

The online project screened 24/7 around the world will see 30 male and female contestants seek to stay alive in wilderness populated with bears and wolves.

Organisers boast 'everything is allowed' including 'rape' and 'murder', but would-be participants are nevertheless warned: 'You must understand that the police will come and take you away. We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.'

Contestants will be permitted knives, but no guns.

They will be given survival training from Russia's elite former GRU Spetznaz operatives, but after that they will be on their own coping with temperatures ranging from 35C in high summer to minus 40C or lower in the depths of the Siberian winter.


Thundersnow reported on summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii

© (Photo: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, AP)
In this image made from webcam video provided by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the CFHT telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island is covered in snow on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. More snow fell on the volcanic peaks of Hawaii the past couple of days.
Another round of snow — including reports of thundersnow — blanketed the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday and Monday.

Mauna Kea park rangers reported "significant snowfall with continuous thunder and lightning over the summits," the National Weather Service in Honolulu tweeted late Sunday.


New study says moderate cold kills more people than extreme heat

© Watts Up with That
Science is a wonderful thing. As time moves on, in a single direction, Science, as an endeavor, discovers new things and improves our lives.

With a "hat tip" to the inestimable Jane Brody, health journalist at the NY Times who covers the story here, we are reminded of the study [free .pdf] from Antonio Gasparrini et al. which was published in The Lancet, July 25, 2015, with the [way too long] title:

"Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study".

The bottom-line finding, the take home message, might surprise even readers here at WUWT, quoted in the side-bar of the journal article:

We report that non-optimum ambient temperature is responsible for substantial excess in mortality, with important differences between countries. Although most previous research has focused on heat-related effects, most of the attributable deaths were caused by cold temperatures.

Despite the attention given to extreme weather events, most of the effect happened on moderately hot and moderately cold days, especially moderately cold days.
This evidence is important for improvements to public health policies aimed at prevention of temperature-related health consequences, and provides a platform to extend predictions on future effects in climate-change scenarios. [extra emphasis mine - kh]


Algerian villagers stunned as snow falls in Sahara for first time in over 30 years

This might not be the first place you'd expect to find a festive snowy scene, but incredible images show the Sahara desert looking particularly chilly.

It is just the second time in living memory that snow has fallen, with the last occasion being in February 1979.

The pictures were taken by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, yesterday afternoon. He captured the amazing moment snow fell on the red sand dunes in the world's largest hot desert.

This time the snow stayed for a day in the town, which is around 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains

Ice Cube

At minus 2 degrees, Chicago, Illinois is colder than Mars

© Getty Images
Commuters brave the cold and make their way to work across the Madison Street Bridge on Monday in Chicago.
Brutal cold has many Chicagoans thinking about getting away to some place warmer.

How about Mars?

Chicago is currently one of the coldest spots on the planet and is even colder than Mars
. According to NASA, the current temperature on Mars is minus 2 degrees. Chicago was minus 6 degrees with a wind chill of minus 20 degrees as of 9 a.m. Monday.

The city nearly beat a record for low temperatures, but fell 1 degree shy of the 1983 record when a temperature of minus 13 was recorded at O'Hare International Airport overnight Monday, according to the Tribune.

That means that it was colder overnight in Chicago than in the South Pole, Antarctica, which was at minus 12 degrees at the local time of 3:57 a.m.

There are a few spots on Earth more chilly than Chicago. The North Pole is at minus 18 degrees, and Siberia, home of the coldest town in the world, is currently at minus 31 degrees.

A wind chill advisory will remain in effect until 10 a.m. Monday.


Resembling a scene from 'The Day After Tomorrow': Chilly winter turns Michigan lighthouse into frozen castle

© Via YouTube/Great Lakes Drone Company
It's been really, really cold in some parts of the country this week (don't say we didn't warn you) but one side effect has been some incredible images like this lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan, along the southwest shores of Lake Michigan.

Another terrific video, captured by photographer Joshua Nowicki gives you an even closer look at the frozen castle that looks straight out of a fairy tale.

Comment: From January 2014:

Snowflake Cold

Average U.S. temperatures 16°F colder than any time last winter and winter hasn't started yet...

If you think it is colder than you remember last year, your'e right. Winter hasn't officially started yet, it begins on Wednesday, December 21st. But the numbers tell a cold hard fact: as of 7 a.m. EST this morning, Sunday, Dec. 18, the average temperature across the Lower 48 states of the U.S. is colder than any time all last winter.

As this plot of hourly temperatures shows, the average temperature is 16 degrees. F, which is 4 degrees colder than any time last winter. What's worse, the coldest part of winter is still six weeks away.
© Weatherbell
I can't wait for Monday, March 20th, 2017, when spring starts.


Spinning ice disc filmed on river near Houghton Lake, Michigan

A Michigan woman on a snowmobiling trip captured video of a bizarre phenomenon: a disc of ice slowly rotating on the surface of a river.

Karla S. Dahms posted a video to Facebook showing the strange rotating ice circle she spotted in the Muskegon River, near the city of Houghton Lake.

Dahms said she had never seen anything like the ice disc in the river before.

Researchers determined the ice discs occur when cold air comes in contact with an eddy in the river and the ice forms into a circle, which rotates due to the current it creates by slowly melting.

Ice Cube

2 below zero: 99-year cold record broken in Syracuse, New York

© Glenn Coin
Frank Marra, of Kinne Road in DeWitt, bundles up as he clears his driveway of snow. Syracuse set a record low for Dec. 16 this morning, when temperatures fell to 2 below zero.
Syracuse just broke a 99-year record for the coldest Dec. 16.

The temperature at Hancock International Airport, the official weather station for Syracuse, hit 2 below zero over the last hour.

The record for Dec. 16 had been minus 1, set in 1917.

If this makes you feel any warmer, today's record low isn't even close to the coldest December day on record. That belongs to Dec. 20, 1942, when Syracuse hit 26 below zero.