Extreme Temperatures


Extreme cold breaking records in northern Siberia; 10 degrees or lower below normal

The average temperature in European Russia, the Ural Mountains and Siberia is 10 degrees, or lower, below normal

During all days of December, the average temperature has not come close to normal. The temperature in the Khanty-Mansiysk dropped to -43ºC, setting a new daily record. The previous record was -39.6 degrees in 1937. In Salekhard, it fell to -41.5 degrees, also a new record.

And last night in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the temperature dropped to -43ºC, -46ºC.

Temperature map:
Siberia temperature map
© gismetro.ru

Comment: Siberia already being clobbered with snow - portends harsh U.S. winter ahead


Anomalous snow storm blankets desert in Saudi Arabia

Snow camels
Snow fell over the northern part of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.

You don't believe me? Look at these pictures and videos captured by residents of different towns in Northern Borders Region, close to Jordan.

After Algeria and the Sahara Desert, it is now the northern part of Saudi Arabia that is covered by snow... Another weather anomaly!

Heavy snow fall suspended daily life in northern areas as temperature fell below freezing point on December 20, 2016 afternoon.

Snow in Saudi Arabia
© VK.comSnow in Saudi Arabia
© VK.com

Comment: See also: Algerian villagers stunned as snow falls in Sahara for first time in over 30 years


Potent storm to bring blizzard conditions to central U.S. Christmas weekend

Central US snowstorm
A potent storm will cause dangerous blizzard conditions, resulting in major travel disruptions, over the central United States during Christmas weekend.

A storm more similar to November or March will swing northeastward over the northern Plains during Christmas Day. The storm will deliver everything from a wintry mix and a blizzard to drenching rain and severe thunderstorms to portions of the central United States.
US forecast
Snow to spread southward along Interstate 25 Saturday

After departing the Intermountain West with moderate snow and slippery travel conditions, the storm will emerge over the High Plains and begin to strengthen.

Travel conditions will deteriorate from north to south over the Interstate 25 corridor during Saturday around Billings, Montana, to Casper, Wyoming, during Saturday evening and then the Denver area beginning late Saturday night.

Snow will also develop and spread eastward over the northern Plains. The snow will spread into Bismarck, North Dakota, on Saturday, then to Rapid City, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota, during Saturday night.


DNA helps Inuits survive Arctic cold

Inuit Village
© UC BerkeleySeals and walruses were part of the traditional diet of the Inuit, as seen in this illustration of a native village on Canada’s Baffin Island, from the book Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux (1865) by Charles Francis Hall.
In the Arctic, the Inuits have adapted to severe cold and a predominantly seafood diet. After the first population genomic analysis of the Greenland Inuits ( Fumagalli, Moltke et al.2015, Science), a region in the genome containing two genes has now been scrutinized by scientists: TBX15 and WARS2. This region is thought to be central to cold adaptation by generating heat from a specific type of body fat, and was earlier found to be a candidate for adaptation in the Inuits.

Now, a team of scientists led by Fernando Racimo, Rasmus Nielsen et al. have followed up on the first natural selection study in Inuits to trace back the origins of these adaptations.

To perform the study, they used the genomic data from nearly 200 Greenlandic Inuits and compared this to the 1000 Genomes Project and ancient hominid DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans. The results, published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, provide convincing evidence that the Inuit variant of the TBX15/WARS2 region first came into modern humans from an archaic hominid population, likely related to the Denisovans.

"The Inuit DNA sequence in this region matches very well with the Denisovan genome, and it is highly differentiated from other present-day human sequences, though we can't discard the possibility that the variant was introduced from another archaic group whose genomes we haven't sampled yet." - said Fernando Racimo, lead author of the study.


Warmest December day on record in Miami

Miami Inmigrantes prohibidos turismo
While the rest of the US suffers dramatic cold Miami experiences 24 month long heat records
On Sunday, Miami set a new record for the warmest December day ever. Monday shattered another record, with the highest high at 86 degrees. With less than two weeks to go, it's too soon to say if December 2016 will top December 2015, which now holds the record for Miami's hottest December. But bet on it being the polar opposite of back-to-back Arctic blasts gripping other parts of the country this holiday season.

"It's not just hot, it's so humid, too," said University of Miami tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy. "It's as if winter or fall never happened."

Arrow Down

The Hunger Games Russian style

Game2: Winter
© The Siberian TimesTheir target: to survive until 1 April - but it will be no joke.
These are the rules to new TV reality show, an ultimate 9-month Siberian survival test stranded in remote taiga with bears and wolves in minus 40C winter.

The online project screened 24/7 around the world will see 30 male and female contestants seek to stay alive in wilderness populated with bears and wolves.

Organisers boast 'everything is allowed' including 'rape' and 'murder', but would-be participants are nevertheless warned: 'You must understand that the police will come and take you away. We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.'

Contestants will be permitted knives, but no guns.

They will be given survival training from Russia's elite former GRU Spetznaz operatives, but after that they will be on their own coping with temperatures ranging from 35C in high summer to minus 40C or lower in the depths of the Siberian winter.


Thundersnow reported on summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii snow
© (Photo: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, AP)In this image made from webcam video provided by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the CFHT telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island is covered in snow on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. More snow fell on the volcanic peaks of Hawaii the past couple of days.
Another round of snow — including reports of thundersnow — blanketed the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday and Monday.

Mauna Kea park rangers reported "significant snowfall with continuous thunder and lightning over the summits," the National Weather Service in Honolulu tweeted late Sunday.


New study says moderate cold kills more people than extreme heat

© Watts Up with That
Science is a wonderful thing. As time moves on, in a single direction, Science, as an endeavor, discovers new things and improves our lives.

With a "hat tip" to the inestimable Jane Brody, health journalist at the NY Times who covers the story here, we are reminded of the study [free .pdf] from Antonio Gasparrini et al. which was published in The Lancet, July 25, 2015, with the [way too long] title:

"Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study".

The bottom-line finding, the take home message, might surprise even readers here at WUWT, quoted in the side-bar of the journal article:

We report that non-optimum ambient temperature is responsible for substantial excess in mortality, with important differences between countries. Although most previous research has focused on heat-related effects, most of the attributable deaths were caused by cold temperatures.

Despite the attention given to extreme weather events, most of the effect happened on moderately hot and moderately cold days, especially moderately cold days.
This evidence is important for improvements to public health policies aimed at prevention of temperature-related health consequences, and provides a platform to extend predictions on future effects in climate-change scenarios. [extra emphasis mine - kh]


Algerian villagers stunned as snow falls in Sahara for first time in over 30 years

Snow in Algeria
This might not be the first place you'd expect to find a festive snowy scene, but incredible images show the Sahara desert looking particularly chilly.

It is just the second time in living memory that snow has fallen, with the last occasion being in February 1979.

The pictures were taken by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, yesterday afternoon. He captured the amazing moment snow fell on the red sand dunes in the world's largest hot desert.

This time the snow stayed for a day in the town, which is around 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains

Ice Cube

At minus 2 degrees, Chicago, Illinois is colder than Mars

Commuters in Chicago
© Getty ImagesCommuters brave the cold and make their way to work across the Madison Street Bridge on Monday in Chicago.
Brutal cold has many Chicagoans thinking about getting away to some place warmer.

How about Mars?

Chicago is currently one of the coldest spots on the planet and is even colder than Mars
. According to NASA, the current temperature on Mars is minus 2 degrees. Chicago was minus 6 degrees with a wind chill of minus 20 degrees as of 9 a.m. Monday.

The city nearly beat a record for low temperatures, but fell 1 degree shy of the 1983 record when a temperature of minus 13 was recorded at O'Hare International Airport overnight Monday, according to the Tribune.

That means that it was colder overnight in Chicago than in the South Pole, Antarctica, which was at minus 12 degrees at the local time of 3:57 a.m.

There are a few spots on Earth more chilly than Chicago. The North Pole is at minus 18 degrees, and Siberia, home of the coldest town in the world, is currently at minus 31 degrees.

A wind chill advisory will remain in effect until 10 a.m. Monday.