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Mon, 24 Apr 2017
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Extreme Temperatures


Hawaii picks up 8 inches of snow overnight following blizzard

A NASA satellite captured snow on the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on December 25, 2016
Do you want to build a snowman in paradise? Hawaii's mountainous peaks picked up 8 inches of snow overnight this week after a blizzard hit the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Most of the snow fell late Tuesday into early Wednesday, and a blizzard warning for Mauna Kea and its sister peak Mauna Loa was canceled Thursday. A few additional snow showers were forecast, with no accumulation expected.

While the summits received snow, the rest of the Big Island dealt with heavy rain and thunderstorms that pelted the lower elevations. Both Oahu and Kauai were under flash flood warnings. Temperatures were mild, with highs in the 70s and 80s.

Snow on Hawaii's peaks is not uncommon in the colder months because they are nearly 14,000 feet high. Mauna Kea has a sub-Arctic climate, the weather service said.


Western USA snowpack is so deep that scientists can't measure it accurately

© Benjamin Spillman/Reno Gazette Journal
Hydrologist Jeff Anderson and district conservationist Jim Gifford of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Nevada ready a 20-foot tube used to measure snow depth in order to take a measurement of the snowpack on Slide Mountain on March 1, 2017. The pack measured 212 inches.
One sure sign the Sierra Nevada is experiencing a historic winter is the snowpack is getting too deep for devices scientists use to measure it.

It's a problem that cropped up Wednesday when researchers sought to confirm snow depth at a data site on Slide Mountain at Mount Rose Ski Tahoe near Reno.

"We're not even close," hydrologist Jeff Anderson said after jamming an aluminum tube more than 16 feet into the snowpack hoping to reach the ground below.

The snow-measuring snafu provided real life confirmation of what scientific instruments on the site already showed.

The Sierra Nevada is wrapping up a historic winter and that's huge news for Nevada and California, states that have spent the past several years parched in drought.

"Who would have thought this two years ago when we were measuring the worst snowpack on record," Anderson said.


Record snow blankets Iceland, food costs spike in EU & Spring arrives early to parts of US

© Gunnar Freyr
Snow blankets Iceland.
Record snows blanket Iceland, inflation up 8.8% in EU driven by 60% rises in vegetables and food. Weather channel claims spring arrives 20 days early and then freeze blankets S.E USA. Polar Vortex is set to roll over North America in coming week and Alaska -40C.

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Nearly 70 people killed by avalanches in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Avalanches have claimed the lives of nearly 70 people in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

At least 54 people were killed in Afghanistan over the past few days. Officials expect the death toll to rise as nearly 170 homes have been destroyed. Over 50 people are injured as 22 Afghan provinces witness freezing weather and heavy snowfall. Officials in neighboring Pakistan have also confirmed the death of over a dozen people in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The region has been blanketed with over a meter of snow that's blocked most roads and led the closure of Chitral Airport. People in worst-hit areas are facing food and medicine shortages.

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12,000 people isolated after 46 avalanches during February in Chitral, Pakistan

Dig that snow man
46 avalanches at different points in the region have caused the only road to Arkari Valley to remain blocked since Feb 5, isolating over 12,000 people in the area.

According to a report, the 12,000 people of the valley are still stranded as the long route to Chitral town was blocked off by huge avalanches. The people of the isolated area complained against the provincial government, for not clearing the sole road to of snow and boulders.

Village Council Chairman Sher Muhammad said, "Around 12,000 people in the valley are facing acute shortage of food, medicines and other essential commodities as there is no hospital. The local administration has reserved only one tractor to clear the road blocked by over 46 avalanches which is not possible."


Chicago records no measurable snow in January, February for 1st time in 146 years

© Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune
Record-breaking temperatures draw Chicagoans outdoors.
For the first time in 146 years, the National Weather Service documented no snow on the ground in Chicago in January and February — a record that put a spring in the step of some but weighed down others worried about climate change.

Because the snow measurement is taken at 6 a.m. at O'Hare International Airport, small amounts of snow that may have fallen later in the day and melted were not recorded, said Amy Seeley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. This occurred Feb. 25 when there was a trace of snow and Jan. 30 when there was 0.1 inch. The weather service has been keeping data on snow on the ground for 146 years.

The record near-snowless start was overshadowed Tuesday by severe storms moving through the state.

The National Weather Service forecast large hail, winds, localized flooding and tornadoes Tuesday evening. A tornado hit Ottowa on Tuesday evening, killing one person, and the weather service said its spotters had reported a number of other tornadoes.

More stormy weather was forecast for the week, including possible snow.

WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling said he believes the 146-year streak in Chicago is part of climate change and emphasized that it does not occur linearly, meaning that there is potential for cold winters in the future.

Comment: Meanwhile other parts of the US such as California and Nevada are experiencing record-breaking snowfalls.

See also: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - January 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Exceptionally warm February weather breaks records across Switzerland

© The Local
Thursday was exceptionally warm in Switzerland with many places across the country seeing temperatures of around 20 degrees, breaking previous records for the month of February.

The unseasonal weather, due to a mass of dry, hot air moving up from Spain, meant it felt more like the end of April than February, with temperatures on the Swiss lowlands some 12 degrees warmer than usual for this time of year, said MeteoNews.

The cities of Nyon, Sion, Aigle and Neuchâtel all broke their previous February records. In Sion, the mercury rose to 21.2 degrees, smashing its previous record of 19.8 set in 1998. Nyon reached 18.4 degrees and Aigle 19.5.

Cities in German-speaking Switzerland were also affected, with Thun, Interlaken and Basel-Binningen all surpassing 20 degrees. Lucerne wasn't far behind with 19.9 degrees, Zurich reached 19.5 and Bern set a new city record for February with 18.5 degrees.


At least 65 Snowy owls invade Bruce County, Ontario

© Rob Gowan
A snowy owl flies over a field near Chesley.
The snowy owls have landed in Bruce County.

As many as 40 of the birds have been spotted in an area north of Chesley over the past couple of weeks, attracting birders, photographers and others to the area.

"It is quite remarkable," said local birder Peter Middleton, who has been down to count and document the owls on a couple of occasions.

The flat open farmland in the area has traditionally been an area hot spot for the large, majestic birds whose traditional territory is the Arctic. But locals are reporting larger numbers of owls over the past couple of weeks than traditionally have made their way to the area, with some reports of over 40 owls in the area near Chesley and 65 across southern Bruce County.

Middleton said the reason why the birds have made their way to Bruce County recently is open to conjecture, but he believes it is related to a massive irruption of the birds on the Arctic tundra about three years ago.

"This is an irruptive species, which means it will move either according to weather or more normally in response to the presence of prey," said Middleton. "If prey is thin-spread they will move south in search of it."


Photos of record breaking snowfall for Reykjavik, Iceland; heaviest in 80 years

© Gunnar Freyr
Snow blankets Iceland.
Record breaking amounts of snow fell in the city of Reykjavik in Iceland last night and the pictures are amazing.

The snow in the capital peaked at 51 cm.

Only once in history has this been topped, when snowfall in the city reached 55 cm in January 1937.

Roads may have been closed and schools have been shut
but for one photographer the snow was a perfect photo opportunity.

Gunnar Freyr, also known as the Icelandic Explorer, woke up to the sound of trees breaking in back garden.

While most people waited for the snow to settle and headed out once morning had broken - he went out with his camera at 3am to capture it all.


Mass extinction: Vatican embraces science to battle immense threats to humanity

© Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
A general view of Saint Peter's Square, Vatican.
One in five species already face extinction on our planet, population growth projections are bewildering and climate change shows few, if any, signs of abating. Now, a group of experts are meeting to tackle the problem in the unlikeliest of venues.

Leading biologists, ecologists and economists from around the world have been invited to a conference in the Vatican this week, where the impending mass extinction event facing our planet will be addressed and possible solutions formulated.

"By the beginning of the next century we face the prospect of losing half our wildlife... The extinctions we face pose an even greater threat to civilization than climate change - for the simple reason they are irreversible," biology Professor Peter Raven, of the Missouri Botanical Garden told the Observer.

"That the symposia are being held at the Papal Academy is also symbolic. It shows that the ancient hostility between science and the church, at least on the issue of preserving Earth's services, has been quelled," said economist Sir Partha Dasgupta, of Cambridge University.

Comment: To understand what's going on, check out our book explaining how all these events are part of a natural climate shift, and why it's taking place now: Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.