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Tue, 25 Jan 2022
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Extreme Temperatures

Igloo

Sea ice in Antarctic hits second all-time record in a week

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© The Cryosphere Today
A graph of the latest all-time record of Southern Hemisphere sea ice area, expressed as an anomaly.
Antarctic sea ice has hit its second all-time record maximum this week. The new record is 2.112 million square kilometers above normal. Until the weekend just past, the previous record had been 1.840 million square kilometers above normal, a mark hit on December 20, 2007, as I reported here, and also covered in my book.

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, responded to e-mail questions and also spoke by telephone about the new record sea ice growth in the Southern Hemisphere, indicating that, somewhat counter-intuitively, the sea ice growth was specifically due to global warming.

"The primary reason for this is the nature of the circulation of the Southern Ocean - water heated in high southern latitudes is carried equatorward, to be replaced by colder waters upwelling from below, which inhibits ice loss," Serreze wrote in an e-mail. "Upon this natural oceanic thermostat, one will see the effects of natural climate variations, [the rise] appears to be best explained by shifts in atmospheric circulation although a number of other factors are also likely involved."

Apple Red

Early signs of autumn in UK 'already appearing in natural world'

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Natural beauty: Purple Emperor butterflies, pictured, have started arriving early after Britain experienced warmer than average temperatures for seven months in a row. Autumn could soon be upon us
Sycamore seeds are well developed and hawthorn berries are already red, says National Trust

After an early spring and summer, the year is now racing towards autumn ahead of schedule, conservationists have said.

As the year reached the half-way mark, the National Trust said wildlife seemed to have come through the wettest and stormiest winter on record and nature had hurtled "helter-skelter" through the seasons since.

Now signs of autumn are already in the hedgerows and woods, National Trust naturalist Matthew Oates said.

"Looking at this year, where does it want to be? It raged its way through winter, then we went into an incredibly early spring, and then it rushed helter-skelter through spring without stopping for breath," he said.

Arrow Up

Global cooling? Great Lakes water levels rising - Scientists 'startled'

Lake Michigan
© Mark Kauzlarich/The New York Times
Dylan Drephal and Bryan Townsend fishing for smallmouth bass in mid-June along the Lake Michigan shore north of Ephraim, Wis., where the water is at least a foot higher than it was a year ago.
Another global warming prediction bites the dust

The National Wildlife Federation recently warned that "Lake Erie water levels, already below average, could drop 4-5 feet by the end of this century." The announcement also warned, in a section entitled "Threats from Global Warming," that "within another 30 years Lake Superior may be mostly ice-free in a typical winter."

On Thursday, Huffington Post Canada observed that "the (Great Lakes) basin has experienced the longest extended period of lower water levels since the U.S. and Canada began tracking levels in 1918." The article blamed the lower water levels on "climate change," of course.

On, Friday, Julie Bosman at the New York Times reported a new 5-year study that concluded that "water levels in the lakes were likely to drop even farther, in part because of the lack of precipitation in recent years brought on by climate change."

Uh huh. Except that Great Lakes water levels are rising. A lot.

Ice Cube

Ice age reboot: Ocean current shutdown viewed as culprit

thermohaline circulation
© NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The thermohaline circulation is a global ocean current that redistributes warm surface water and cold, dense deep water.
A dramatic slowdown in deep ocean currents matches a major reset in Earth's ice ages about 1 million years ago, new evidence from the South Atlantic seafloor suggests.

The discovery doesn't mean the ocean current stall-out is the only culprit behind the change in Earth's incessant ice ages, the study authors said. However, the findings provide new evidence that Earth's oceans can significantly alter its climate.

"We cannot tell for sure what broke the cycle," said lead study author Leopoldo Pena of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. "Our evidence shows the oceans played a major role."

For unknown reasons, about 950,000 years ago, Earth's ice age cycles suddenly lengthened, from 41,000 years to 100,000 years. The planet's thermostat was tweaked at the same time, with ice ages growing colder than before.

Comment: We are seeing similar type disruption of Ocean Currents

Life on this Earth Just Changed: The North Atlantic Current is Gone

Wake The World Up Campaign


Ice Cube

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare Arctic Beluga whale seen in Massachusetts

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© A. Lyskin IFAW
A Beluga whale sighted in the Taunton River.
In Connecticut, we're used to seeing Beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, but residents in Fall River, Massachusetts are getting an unusual sight in an unusual place. A Beluga whale was spotted in the Taunton River over the past several days.

"It's very rare to see a Beluga by itself this far south," Dr. Tracy Romano of Mystic Aquarium told WNPR. "It was last sighted here a week ago, on the 18th."

Romano, Mystic Aquarium's Executive Vice President of Research and Zoological Operations, is leading the team while it looks for the whale in the Taunton River. She said Belugas prefer Arctic and sub-arctic waters, and travel in pods. "This unusual sighting in our own back yard is anomalous behavior for a Beluga," she said, "and we would like to find out why."

Cloud Lightning

Torrential rainfall in Oslo, Norway smashes all historical records

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© Magnus Aabech/NTB Scanpix
A van crashes through deep water on Oslo's ring road.
The torrential rainfall that descended on Oslo on Thursday smashed all historical records, with a colossal 44.5mm of rain falling in just a single hour between four and five on Thursday afternoon.

Water streamed down the city's streets on Thursday afternoon, causing gridlock in much of the city centre, while hailstorms left parts of the city covered in a layer of freak summer ice.

The previous highest rainfall rate the city has seen since records began in 1937 came came in 1980, when 41.5mm of rain fell in an hour over the summer.

"It seems as though we had nearly one month's rainfall in three hours," Marit Helene Jensen told Aftenposten after the rain subsided yesterday evening.


Snowman

Boy builds snowman in late June in Mörrum, southern Sweden

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David Odenhammer, 7, (he's the one on the right) poses beside his June snowman
Sweden's meteorological agency SMHI warned of storms hitting the south on Thursday and the town of Mörrum wasn't spared.

"The hailstorm must have lasted about ten minutes and it was absolutely crazy. There was several inches of it on the ground," Göran Odenhammer, father and occasional snowman builder, told The Local.

Odenhammer and his seven-year-old son David ventured outside to inspect the hail and did what comes naturally - have fun in the snow/hail during the Swedish summer.

Igloo

Ancient ocean currents may have changed pacing and intensity of ice ages

Ocean Currents
© Kim Martineau
Leo Pena (above) and colleagues analyzed fossil plankton shells to reconstruct ocean circulation over the last 1.2 million years.
For decades, climate scientists have tried to explain why ice-age cycles became longer and more intense about 900,000 years ago, switching from 41,000-year cycles to 100,000-year cycles. In a new study in the leading journal Science, researchers found that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or even stopped, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the north. The slowing currents increased carbon dioxide storage in the ocean, leaving less in the atmosphere, which kept temperatures cold and kicked the climate system into a new phase of colder but less frequent ice ages, they hypothesize.

"The oceans started storing more carbon dioxide for a longer period of time," said Leopoldo Pena, the study's lead author, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "Our evidence shows that the oceans played a major role in slowing the pace of ice ages and making them more severe."

The researchers reconstructed the past strength of earth's system of deep-ocean currents by sampling deep-sea sediments off the coast of South Africa, where powerful currents originating in the North Atlantic Ocean pass on their way to Antarctica. How vigorously those currents moved in the past can be inferred by how much North Atlantic water made it that far, as measured by isotope ratios of the element neodymium bearing the signature of North Atlantic seawater. Like a tape recorder, the shells of ancient plankton incorporate this seawater signal through time, allowing scientists to approximate when the currents grew stronger and weaker off South Africa.

They confirmed that over the last 1.2 million years, the conveyor-like currents strengthened during warm periods and weakened during ice ages, as previously thought. But they also discovered that at about 950,000 years ago, ocean circulation weakened significantly and stayed weak for 100,000 years; during that period the planet skipped an interglacial - the warm interval between ice-ages - and when the system recovered it entered a new phase of longer, 100,000-year ice age cycles. After this turning point, the deep ocean currents remain weak during ice ages, and the ice ages themselves become colder, they find.

Ice Cube

Freak hailstorm strikes Tokyo in June

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© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Pedestrians walk down a hail-covered street following a hailstorm in a residential area west of Tokyo on June 24.
Heavy rain and hailstones hit Tokyo and surrounding areas on Tuesday. Tokyo's Mitaka City was hit by hail in the afternoon. Some residents say that hailstones of up to 3 centimeters wide fell for about 30 minutes.

It covered residential areas, accumulating up to 10 centimeters. Residents used shovels to remove it from around their homes.

Weather officials say that warm, humid air and a cold air mass made atmospheric conditions unstable, causing cumulonimbus clouds to develop over Tokyo area. Some clouds were more than 10 kilometers high. Powerful updrafts occurred, and that lead to the hailstorm.


Source: NHK

Snowflake Cold

Killing freeze predicted for U.S. Midwest this Fall

simon atkins weather

Simon Atkins
An early freeze in the Great Plains may cut corn production by 8%, according to Simon Atkins, CEO of Advanced Forecasting Corporation, who presented his long-range forecast in a webinar on Monday.

The cause: above-average volcanic eruptions around the world for the last nine months, including three in the last month - in Eastern Russia, Alaska and Indonesia. The release of sulfur into the atmosphere from volcanic eruptions reflects sunlight back out to space.

The meteorologist predicted cooler-than-normal summer temperatures "because of well-above-normal volcanic eruptions going back to the fall of 2013. We are not going to see many hot periods. Sure, there will be a few days here and there where temperatures reach 100 degrees in Oklahoma, but it's not going to be very common."

"What's going to be more common is more moisture coming in off the Eastern seaboard of the U.S., and it will be pushing frontal boundaries from east to west, cooling down even parts of the Midwest in July and August," he continued. "We think the first two weeks of September will be warmer. But then it will be getting quite a bit colder toward the end of September, and even into October."

These cooler temperatures could damage the corn crop, Atkins explained.

"We think there's going to be an early frost [in the Plains west of Kansas], which could reduce the number of bushels per acre of corn - maybe by around 8%, our current rate of prediction," he said. "It will be a killing freeze, at least 10 to 15 days earlier than normal."

Meanwhile, Atkins expects flash flooding in the Midwest this week, from Nebraska down to Arkansas, even reaching into parts of the Tennessee River Valley. "Some of these winds will reach 80 miles per hour with hail, producing lots of flash flooding. Some fields in the Midwest will suffer from too much rain," he said.

Comment: As happy as the increase in rainfall will make some farmers in the short term, this is one of the precursors of the onset of a new Ice Age. The increase in rainfall, coupled with temperatures that don't reach expected summer highs, means that winter snows never really go away. This increases the reflection of solar radiation away from Earth, further causing the temperature to fall. The cycle is self-reinforcing. Add to that the reflecting properties of volcanic eruptions, and the cycle speeds up even more.

Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow
Volcanoes Played Pivotal Role In Ancient Ice Age, Mass Extinction
Forget warming - beware the new ice age