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Ice Cube

Rapid ice coverage of the Great Lakes surges to 62 percent, may bring significant consequences for Michigan weather

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© Space Science And Engineering Center- University of Wisconsin - Madison
This higher resolution satellite photo from Tuesday January 28, 2014 shows ice along the western side of Lake Michigan. It also shows the point at which open water starts, the lake effect bands of snow form.
The Great Lakes have reached 62 percent ice coverage due to extreme cold, and in the weeks ahead that can have a triple-barreled consequence on Michigan's weather: More cold. Less lake-effect snow. More sun.

The coverage is growing rapidly. The ice area more than doubled in just one recent week, from 22 percent coverage on Jan. 15 to 48 percent by Jan. 22. From Jan. 22 to Jan. 28 the average Great Lakes ice grew another 14 percent.

Lake Superior is 69 percent covered in ice. Lake Michigan has 46 percent ice cover, while Lake Huron is 71 percent ice covered. Lake Erie is almost totally covered with ice, at 96 percent. Lake Ontario has 26 percent ice cover.

George Leshkevich, physical scientist at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says the oddity this year is how early in the winter this amount of ice cover has formed.

The 62 percent ice cover already ranks this year as 17th in maximum ice coverage in the last 40 years. 1994 had the highest ice cover at 94.8 percent.

Dry arctic air has taken over much of the Great Lakes region, allowing for clearing skies over land, and even over parts of the lakes. That gave us a high resolution satellite photo posted Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014 by the Space Science and Engineering Center.

The photo shows a large area of ice formed on the west side of Lake Michigan, off the shore of northern Indiana through the Chicago area, and up the Wisconsin shoreline.

Ice Cube

'Climate Scientist Who Got It Right'

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© Wikimedia Commons.
Earth at the last glacial maximum of the current ice age
Dr. Don Easterbrook - a climate scientist and glacier expert from Washington State who correctly predicted back in 2000 that the Earth was entering a cooling phase - says to expect colder temperatures for at least the next two decades.

Easterbrook's predictions were "right on the money" seven years before Al Gore and the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for warning that the Earth was facing catastrophic warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide, which Gore called a "planetary emergency."

"When we check their projections against what actually happened in that time interval, they're not even close. They're off by a full degree in one decade, which is huge. That's more than the entire amount of warming we've had in the past century. So their models have failed just miserably, nowhere near close. And maybe it's luck, who knows, but mine have been right on the button," Easterbrook told CNSNews.com.

"For the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit, as opposed to the one-degree warming predicted by the IPCC," said Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University and author of 150 scientific journal articles and 10 books, including "Evidence Based Climate Science," which was published in 2011. (See EasterbrookL coming-century-predictions.pdf)

Cloud Precipitation

Apocalypse in Slovenian forests due to freezing rain and snow

Slovenia ice storm forest damage
© 2014 Mariša Bizjak
In some areas up to 80 per cent of the forest has been damaged. Some forests in the regions of Postojna and Pivka are completely in tatters due to sleet and snow.
Devastating sleet, which has been crushing trees under its weight all over the country, has caused the largest catastrophe ever to hit Slovenian forests.

Damjan Oražen, director of the Slovenian Forest Institute, has stated that according to early estimates as many as 500,000 hectares are damaged, i.e. almost half of all Slovenian forests. According to Oražen, the total volume of fallen wood amounts to 4 million cubic metres, which equals the entire average annual harvest. What is more, since the current conditions do not allow forestry teams to estimate the damage on the spot, the estimated numbers are not final.

Falling branches and trees pose danger throughout the country at the moment, and it will continue to be so until the ice melts. Therefore, walkers through forested areas are advised caution, and should be aware that the situation is not likely to fully return to normal until the spring.

Snowflake Cold

Update! Now 25% of Slovenia is without power, 40% schools closed as blizzards compound ice storm

Slovenia Ice Storm Road Cleanup
© www.rtvslo.si
Firefighters work through the night to clear fallen tree limbs

Heavy freezing rain in Slovenia has caused widespread power outages and the closing of many roads across the European nation. Approximately 10% of the country was without power due to downed power lines and damaged transformers.

Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek announced that Slovenia had requested aid from the European Union, as well as help from neighboring Italy and Croatia to help repair the country's damaged electrical distribution network. She also stated that it may take up to a week to complete all the repairs, as current icy conditions and fallen trees and branches on roadways are impeding repair crews.

Comment: Update 5 February 2014

Further blizzards have hit Eastern Europe, leaving 25% of Slovenians without power and 40% of schools closed.

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Bizarro Earth

California simultaneous freeze and drought badly damages citrus crops - U.S. food prices to increase

citrus crops freeze
© CBS
Citrus crops frozen during a cold weather snap
Monday citrus growers found out how much of an impact the deep freeze which gripped our area in December had on citrus crops. The freeze ruined millions of dollars' worth of citrus and that is expected to drive up food prices in the coming in the months.

At the peak of citrus season Kings River Packing hires about a thousand people to harvest and sort fruit. But this year the family owned operation may have to scale back on hiring after getting hit by a double whammy. The statewide drought and the deep December citrus freeze have ruined a lot of fruit.

"Industry wise there's a lot of damage. Some people did get hit harder than others. The ultimate effect is going to be the jobs," ColbyCampbell with Kings River Packing said.

Igloo

Southern Austria on highest avalanche alert after heavy snow

Heaviest snow in 15 years - At least two people killed.

Snow in Southern Austria
© Reuters
With more snow in the forecast, more than 1,000 soldiers have been put on standby for helicopter rescue operations.


Igloo

Ice age cometh: 'Natural solar cycles will bring worst cold in 200 years'

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"We are not capable of addressing climate change." Such was the lead sentence of climate-change guest columnist Gregory Willits, in the Dec. 24 edition of the Orlando Sentinel ("Let's accept climate change and deal with it in a big way"). It was an accurate statement to be sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

Willits, an avowed "green" enthusiast, went on to strongly support the building of sea walls to keep out the predicted rising sea levels that the world's greatest climate scaremonger, Al Gore, has said will swamp most of Florida with 21 feet of sea water by the year 2100. Yes, we are not capable of addressing climate change - the truth about climate change, that is.

The truth of what is really happening to the climate versus the United Nations and current U.S. government version is, however, a bit hard to accept after two decades of global-warming propaganda. I know. It was for me in April 2007, after finishing some research into solar activity.

Comment: See also:

Ice Age Cometh: Russian Academy of Sciences experts warn of imminent cold period: "Global warming is a marketing trick"


Snowflake

Same old Groundhog Day; Phil predicts more winter

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Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

The fuzzy forecaster made his appearance to the shouts of "groundhog," as eager spectators waited to see whether the groundhog - as the legend goes - would see his shadow and predict six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If not, North Americans can expect an early spring.

This year, Phil predicted that winter will stretch on.

The annual Groundhog Day event, made more popular by the 1993 film comedy "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray, draws thousands of faithful followers from as far away as Australia and Russia.

Phil's forecast of six more weeks of winter was bittersweet for some in attendance.

"I happen to be a positive person, so I do embrace the here and now and I will enjoy the next six weeks of winter with the best attitude and be happy to be alive and healthy with my good friends," said Lori Weber, 54, a real estate broker from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Others came out early, braving drizzle and low-light, just to experience the event.

Carrie Juvan, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio came with her father.

"We are here having a blast because dad put it on his bucket list. I like snow but I am ready for the spring. He asked me about it months ago and I instantly said yes," she said.

Ice Cube

When winter really was winter: the last of the London Frost Fairs

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Cold? Fed up with the weather? It could be worse. Cahal Milmo looks back to the day, exactly 200 years ago, when the river Thames froze solid

"Father Frost and Sister Snow have boneyed my borders, formed an idol of ice upon my bosom, and all the lads of London come to make merry."

"Father Frost and Sister Snow have boneyed my borders, formed an idol of ice upon my bosom, and all the lads of London come to make merry."

Two centuries ago today, this was how one poetic soul announced for the last time an event unlikely to be seen again - the freezing of the Thames.

On 1 February 1814, Londoners awoke to find that after weeks of bitter chill, drifting snow and a fog which resembled "darkness that might be felt", the Thames had ground to an icy halt over a 1,000m stretch between Blackfriars and London Bridge.

The capital's inhabitants responded by settling down to a raucous and bibulous mid-winter party in the shape of a five-day Frost Fair.

In a meteorological event which seems unthinkable from the vantage point of the relentlessly soggy winter of 2014, London and much of England was gripped by temperatures which fell to -13C, bringing chaos as roads became blocked with snow to depths of 6ft. Tales were legion of mail coaches becoming trapped in drifts and the poor, unable to afford coal, freezing in their homes.

But in the midst of wintry misery, a brief respite was afforded as the flow of the Thames in central London slowed, ice floes formed and finally on the morning of 1 February the principal means of transportation for the wealth of the emerging British Empire became a frozen pleasure gardens. Within hours, boatmen deprived of their normal living derived from ferrying passengers across the river had set up signs declaring it was safe to walk across the ice.

Comment: On the contrary, all the real world, empirical evidence points to fact that it's very likely to happen once more.


Snowflake Cold

Serbia declares state of emergency as severe snow storms strike central and eastern Europe

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Swathes of eastern Europe have been hit by high winds and snow. Here, a woman is seen through a frozen window as she walks away from the exit of a subway station in Bucharest, Romania
Serbia declared localised state of emergency zones yesterday as it deployed the army to rescue more than 1,000 people stranded by severe snow storms that have blitzed the centre and east of the continent.

Authorities said a number of roads throughout northern Serbia were blocked by snow drifts, with cars lining up in columns for several miles. Authorities warned motorist not to travel unless strictly necessary.

Over 1,000 people had to be rescued by the army and emergency services after becoming stuck on a road linking Serbia to Hungary for 15 hours.

With wind speeds gusting at over 100 miles an hour, forcing the government to impose truck traffic bans on vehicles travelling from Hungary or Romania.

A military helicopter rescued nearly two dozen people from their cars on a road about 30 miles northeast of the capital Belgrade and up to sixty people were stranded overnight in their vehicles elsewhere.