Tue, 31 Jan 2017 18:29 UTC
Storm warnings have been announced every few days throughout the past month, with the latest declared on Sunday night, as a warm cyclone hit the city. Temperatures have risen from about -25C to -15C, but a third of the expected monthly snowfall fell on Sunday night alone, and precipitation has not subsided since. Average snow cover has reached seven inches.
Winds have regularly exceeded 25 km/h, and have on occasions reached 40 km/h, which is defined by Russian meteorologists as a "black blizzard" - a severe weather event. Visibility has fallen below 1 km, but videos posted by locals show that it is hard to make out the houses on the sides of the road even during daytime - which only lasts five hours - without streetlights.
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:48 UTC
And how much snow has Loveland Pass gotten? So much snow that it's burying a sign warning of avalanche danger.
Viewers Jake Gronseth and Rex Berkey uploaded a photo of the buried sign to Your Take. They say they took the picture at around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
"Yes, it was cold," they write." Whatever the sign says, it doesn't help very much."
After a slow start, snow has been epic at Colorado's ski areas. Loveland has gotten 115 inches of snow this January. The average amount for this time of year? Fifty eight inches.
Yeah, that's pretty epic.
Mon, 30 Jan 2017 12:38 UTC
Scientists think that Earth is long "overdue" for a full magnetic reversal and have determined that the magnetic field's strength is already declining by 5 percent each century. This suggests that a fully reversal is highly probable within the next 2,000 years
Earth's magnetic field surrounds the planet and deflects charged particles from the sun away, protecting life from harmful radiation. There have been at least several hundred global magnetic reversals throughout Earth's history, during which the north and south magnetic poles swap. The most recent of these occurred 41,000 years ago.
During the reversal, the planet's magnetic field will weaken, allowing heightened levels of radiation on and above the Earth's surface.
The radiation spike would cause enormous problems for satellites, aviation, and the power grid. Such a reversal would be comparable to major geomagnetic storms from the sun.
The sun last produced such a storm that struck Earth during the summer of 1859, creating the largest geomagnetic storm on record. The storm was so powerful that it caused telegraph machines around the world to spark, shocking operators and setting papers ablaze. The event released the same amount of energy as 10 billion atomic bombs.
Researchers estimate that a similar event today would cause $600 billion to $2.6 trillion in damages to the U.S. alone. National Geographic found that a similar event today would destroy much of the internet, take down all satellite communications, and almost certainly knock out most of the global electrical grid. The Earth would only get about 20 hours of warning. Other estimates place the damage at roughly $40 billion a day.
A similar solar event occurred in 2012, but missed Earth.
Sun, 29 Jan 2017 13:31 UTC
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 20:37 UTC
Rojo-Garibaldi, B., Salas-de-León, D.A., Sánchez, N.L. and Monreal-Gómez, M.A. 2016. Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and their relationship with sunspots. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 148: 48-52.
Although some climate alarmists contend that CO2-induced global warming will increase the number of hurricanes in the future, the search for such effect on Atlantic Ocean tropical cyclone frequency has so far remained elusive. And with the recent publication of Rojo-Garibaldi et al. (2016), it looks like climate alarmists will have to keep on looking, or accept the likelihood that something other than CO2 is at the helm in moderating Atlantic hurricane frequency.
In their intriguing analysis published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, the four-member research team of Rojo-Garibaldi et al. developed a new database of historical hurricane occurrences in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, spanning twenty-six decades over the period 1749 to 2012. Statistical analysis of the record revealed "the hurricane number is actually decreasing in time," which finding is quite stunning considering that it is quite possible fewer hurricanes were recorded at the beginning of their record when data acquisition was considerably worse than towards the end of the record. Nevertheless, as the Mexican research team indicates, "when analyzing the entire time series built for this study, i.e., from 1749 to 2012, the linear trend in the number of hurricanes is decreasing" (see figure above).
As for the potential cause behind the downward trend, Rojo-Garibaldi et al. examined the possibility of a solar influence, performing a series of additional statistical analyses (spectral, wavelet and coherence wavelet transform) on the hurricane database, as well as a sunspot database obtained from the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center of the Solar Physics Department of the Royal Observatory of Belgium. Therein, their exploratory analyses revealed that "this decline is related to an increase in sunspot activity."
Sat, 28 Jan 2017 11:26 UTC
It's been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.
In southern Idaho, about 500 pronghorn antelope tried to cross the frozen Snake River earlier this month at Lake Walcott, but part of the herd spooked and ran onto a slick spot where they slipped and fell. Idaho Fish and Game workers rescued six of the stranded pronghorn, but 10 were killed by coyotes and 20 had to be euthanized because of injuries suffered when they fell down.
Another 50 pronghorn were found dead in the small western Idaho city of Payette after they nibbled on Japanese yew, a landscaping shrub that's toxic. Tough winter conditions have forced some wildlife to feed on the plant in urban areas.
Heavy snow has forced the Idaho Fish and Game department to begin emergency feeding of big game animals in southern Idaho.
Comment: See also: Animals struggle with heavy snowfall, winter weather in Idaho
Was it because Anna got mad at Elsa? No - but the real reason is even cooler. Scientists figured it out only after a rather provocative hypothesis tied a bunch of bizarre evidence together.
The first clues were discovered on some desolate Atlantic islands. There geologists found layers of rock formed by glaciers, but sandwiched between tropical rocks. How had this happened? Did the islands tectonically drift from the tropics to the poles and then back?
Nope. Microscopic magnetic particles in the rocks showed that when they were originally deposited, the rocks were located near the equator. This could only mean one thing - that the tropics had once been covered by ice.
No problem, you say? There are glaciers atop plenty of equatorial mountains, like the ones that feed the Nile or that dot Ecuadorian rainforests. Maybe such high-elevation glaciers could explain the equatorial ice evidence geologists were finding.
Except that the tropical strata below and above the glacial rocks weren't deposited at high elevation. Rather they were deposited in warm water, near tidal flats and ocean beaches.
It gets even crazier. In other reaches of the globe, scientists scratched their heads about similarly bipolar deposits - in Australia, Africa, Asia and our own Rocky Mountains. Much like paleontologists figured out that dinosaurs all disappeared at the same time, it took a long time for geologists to figure out that all these glacial-tropical rocks were about the same age.
Meaning: Maybe the entire planet, even delightful places like Ecuador, had once been covered by vast sheets of ice. A Snowball Earth.
Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains what happened: "This is definitely a rainbow made by water drops, even though it was so cold. Ice spheres, hail or snowflakes cannot make them because a rainbow needs almost perfectly spherical, smooth and transparent water drops. This bow is broad, telling us that the water drops were small. They were also probably quite high up, and might even have been supercooled below the normal freezing point of water."
Supercooled raindrops can form when droplets of water fall through layers of subfreezing air. Droplets containing specks of dust or even microbes readily freeze as ice crystals form around the impurities. But when rain droplets are especially pure, they can remain in a liquid state even when the temperature drops below freezing.
Hence -- the "supercooled rainbow." High latitude sky watchers should be alert for these rare rainbows as strange Arctic weather grips the North in winter 2017.
Watts up with That
Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:31 UTC
Using a set of computer simulations, the researchers show that two periodic variations in Earth's orbit combine on a 100,000-year cycle to cause an expansion of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere. Compared to open ocean waters, that ice reflects more of the sun's rays back into space, substantially reducing the amount of solar energy the planet absorbs. As a result, global temperature cools.
"The 100,000-year pace of glacial-interglacial periods has been difficult to explain," said Jung-Eun Lee, an assistant professor in Brown's Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Studies and the study's lead author. "What we were able to show is the importance of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere along with orbital forcings in setting the pace for the glacial-interglacial cycle."
The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.