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South Dakota's cattle cataclysm: Why isn't this horror news?

Dead Cattle
© Lacey Weiss
A dead cow is lifted from flooding in the aftermath of winter storm Atlas in South Dakota.
If you aren't in the ag world, you most likely haven't heard about the devastating loss that ranchers in western South Dakota are struggling with after being hit by winter storm Atlas.

For some reason the news stations aren't covering this story. I don't understand why they wouldn't. This story has heartbreak, tragedy and even a convenient tie into the current government shutdown. Isn't that what the news is all about these days?

But the news isn't covering this story. Instead, it is spreading around on social media, and bloggers are writing from their ranches in South Dakota. Bloggers are trying to explain how the horrible happened. And now I am going to join them to tell you the part of the story that I know, and I am going to ask you to help these people, because if you are here reading this, I know you give a crap about these people.

Last weekend western South Dakota and parts of the surrounding states got their butts handed to them by Mother Nature. A blizzard isn't unusual in South Dakota, the cattle are tough and can handle some snow. They have for hundreds of years.

Unlike on our dairy farm in Wisconsin, beef cattle don't live in climate controlled barns. Beef cows and calves spend the majority of their lives out on pasture. They graze the grass in the spring, summer and fall and eat baled hay in the winter.

Snowflake Cold

Arctic plunge in Austria

First snowfall causes chaos in the streets of Salzburg.

The Tauernautobahn was closed for several hours. Also the Rundwanderweg am Gaisberg was blocked by fresh snow.

The road leading to the Tauerntunnel was mostly covered with snow, countless trucks and cars were stranded, especially in the direction to Villach in front of the tunnel.

In the night to Friday and on Friday many trees have fallen down, causing disruption on road traffic. Fresh snowfall mounted up to 20 cm.

In Innsbruck there was 10 cm (4 inches) of snow, in Stubaital 50 cm (19 inches). The Tirol province was surprised by this snowfall.

Also here countless trees have fallen down, 40,000 households saw their electricity power cut off.

(Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for these links )

Snowflake Cold

Snow blankets Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Snow in the Alps whitewashes Cortina and Madonna di Campiglio, says reader Mirco Poletto.

During the night in Cortina d'Ampezzo, white flakes descended to the valley floor, leaving the Ampezzo valley all white.

At 6 in the morning the snow measured a few inches deep at 1300 meters above sea level.

Snow also in Madonna di Campiglio and a great part of the Dolomites.
Next Wednesday I'll hold a conference about climate change ad I surely will focus on global cooling," says Dr Poletto. "These facts will help a lot."

Igloo

Explosive: Max Planck Institute preliminary forecast shows 0.5°C cooling of North Atlantic SST by 2016!

It's not a secret that scientists and politicians have been deeply disappointed by the spectacular failure of climate models. 98% of the long-term climate models failed to project the 16-year warming stop, all having overstated the warming.

So maybe it should not come as surprise that recently the German government quietly put out a bulletin describing a midterm climate forecasting system that is raising some eyebrows.
IceAge
© Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Caption translation at end of post.
The first 4 pages of the bulletin discuss and extol the then-upcoming IPCC AR5. Pages 5 - 7 then describe three projects that aim to answer some open climate questions.

Snowflake Cold

UK: Worst winter for decades: Record-breaking snow predicted for November

Britain is braced for the "worst winter in decades" with the first major snowfall expected in weeks.

Image
© GETTY
Snow last year caused havoc on Britain's roads
Forecasters last night warned the entire country is set for a horror freeze which will bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards.

Temperatures have already started to plunge as a swathe of cold air from the Arctic has swept across the UK in the past few days.

The first long-range forecasts warn of "recordbreaking snowfall" next month.

Heavy wintry showers are expected to cause widespread chaos with below-average temperatures possibly lingering until February.

Long-range forecasters blamed the position of a fast-flowing band of air known as the jet stream near to Britain and high pressure for the extreme conditions. Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: 'We are looking at a potentially paralysing winter, the worst for decades, which could at times grind the nation to a halt.

Snowflake Cold

Germany: "Most severe winter start in 200 Years!"

Salt mine
© wikipedia.org
Last Thursday evening and yesterday winter made its debut in Southern Germany and Austria - and how! Read more here.

German RTL television last night here (starting at 4:30) called it the "most severe start of winter in 200 years!", saying many meteorologists were caught by surprise. Up to half a meter of snow fell at some locations.

Gone are the mild winters of the sort Europe seen in the 1990s and early 2000s. Indeed for central Europe the last 5 consecutive winters have all been colder than normal - a record!

These days are blockbuster times for German road salt manufacturers. In Europe municipalities have learned their lesson: ignore foolish predictions of warm winters, order huge quantities of salt, and do it early!

Igloo

Snow falls weeks early in Munich! ...Meteorologist: "Winter strikes unusually early and severely"!

 Snow Falling
© P Gosselin
Meteorologists warned us that snow was on the way and would fall below the 500 m elevation in southern Germany and elsewhere. Moreover, they warned us that this winter could be one of the worst in 100 years for Central Europe.

No one knows if it's really going to be such a winter, but one thing is sure: it sure is starting out like one! At least in parts of Central Europe.

Wetteronline.de has put up a video (Schneefall auch in München) of snow falling in Munich this morning, October 11, 2013. Normally the first snow arrives in the Bavarian capital weeks later.

Snowflake Cold

Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

Snowfall Rapid city
© KNBN-TV
Rapid City and many other parts of South Dakota recorded record snowfall totals for the entire month of October in just three days over the weekend.
An unusually early and enormous snowstorm over the weekend caught South Dakota ranchers and farmers unprepared, killing tens of thousands of cattle and ravaging the state's $7 billion industry - an industry left without assistance because of the federal government shutdown.

As many as 75,000 cattle have perished since the storm slammed the western part of the state Thursday through Saturday with snowfall that set records for the entire month of October in just three days, state and industry officials said.

Across the state, snow totals averaged 30 inches, with some isolated areas recording almost 5 feet, The Weather Channel reported.

The South Dakota Stock Growers Association estimated that 15 percent to 20 percent of all cattle were killed in some parts of the state. Some ranchers reported that they lost half or more of their herds.

Ice Cube

Current sunspot cycle weakest in 190 years

Currently solar activity is especially low. Solar sunspot number (SSN) in September was at 36.9, and thus was just 36% of the usual mean value 58 months into the cycle. The sun continues to remain in an unusually weak cycle 24, which was characterized by a 1-2 year delayed start in November 2008. The following graphic shows the mean value (blue) and the current cycle (red) and the very similar sunspot cycle SC5 (light gray) which occurred during the Dalton Minimum of the early 19th century:
The average solar cycle
© Frank Bosse and Fritz Vahrenholt
Dark blue shows average sunspot cycle; red shows current cycle 24 and light gray shows SC5. Horizontal axis is the number of months after the start of cycle. -

Snow Globe

Due to too much ice: Alaska village grapples with collapse in walrus harvest

Walrus on the ice
© Unknown
Gambell - For as long as many here can remember, hunters in this Eskimo village where the mountains of Siberia are clearly visible have managed to kill enough walruses to provide food that lasts through the brutal Arctic winter.

But after harvesting only 108 walruses this year - one sixth the average - the island community of 690 residents is rushing to find alternate sources of food before winter sets in. Other towns have offered donations of reindeer and fish, but tribal officials say it isn't enough to offset the shortage. Villagers say they can't afford to shop at the one full-service store because prices there can be three times as high as on the mainland.

"If it continues like this, we will seriously starve," said Jennifer Campbell , a 38-year-old mother of five whose family caught two walruses this year, down from as many as 20 in normal years. In August, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell declared an economic disaster for Gambell and its sister village of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island, freeing up more state resources such as possible grants to help the stricken communities.

State and federal marine experts, meanwhile, say the collapse of the walrus harvest is another example of how wild weather is altering life in native villages like these that still follow a subsistence lifestyle. Rick Thoman , a climatologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, said the Arctic's warming climate is likely to make it harder for such villages to catch enough walruses and other prey animals and fish, which scientists say are likely to fall in number in coming years due to diminished ice.

But this past spring, the village had the opposite problem: The coldest winter to hit the state in decades meant the Siberian Yupik Eskimo hunters on the island, which lies just 36 miles from Russia's Chukchi Peninsula, weren't able to maneuver their boats past unusually thick ice in the Bering Sea as the walrus herds migrated past.


Comment: Despite the author's efforts to concentrate on global warming in the whole article, the fact is that there is a cold change underway.