Extreme Temperatures


Why Britain Could Face Years of Arctic Winters Because of Dramatic Decline in Arctic Sea Ice

There is less Arctic sea ice now than there has been at any time in the past 1,450 years

Britain is facing years of freezing winters because of the dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice, say scientists.

Global warming means autumn levels of sea ice have dropped by almost 30 per cent since 1979 - but this is likely to trigger more frequent cold snaps such as those that brought blizzards to the UK earlier this month.

And Arctic sea ice could be to blame.

© Associated PressCold facts: A reduction in Arctic ice is being blamed for increasingly severe winters in the Northern Hemisphere.


Just in time for the ice age! Ancient plant brought back to life after being buried by squirrels in Siberian permafrost more than 30,000 years ago

As far a flowering pot plants go, the Silene stenophylla plant sitting in a corner of a Russian laboratory will not win many awards. The one award it will win, however, is pretty impressive: The most ancient, viable, multi-cellular, living organism on Earth.

The Silene stenophylla was brought back to life using seeds buried by squirrels in Siberian permafrost more than 30,000 years ago. The seeds have been held in suspended animation by the cold, which has served as a 'frozen gene pool', scientists say.
© National News and PicturesStill growing strong: After 30,500 years buried in permanently frozen soil, the Silene stenophylla bore fruit and bloomed petite white flowers


Russia: Freeze Kills Rare Pelicans in Dagestan

© Gurizada Kamalova

Rare Dalmatian pelicans, a threatened species, are dying of cold and hunger amid freezing weather in Russia's usually warm Dagestan, where the birds are currently wintering.

Temperatures of minus 20-30 degrees Celsius have swept Russia's southern latitudes, coating the Caspian Sea in a thick layer of sea ice. Some 500 Dalmatian pelicans out of the total population in Russia of about 1,400 were forced to take refuge at a shipyard on the Caspian Sea near Dagestan's capital Makhachkala.

According to information from the Dagestansky Nature Preserve, about 16 pelicans have died from hunger and cold on the Caspian shores of Dagestan.

An adult Dalmatian pelican requires at least 2.5 kg of fish daily, but the giant birds are unable to feed themselves from the ice-covered sea.


Best of the Web: Russian Scientist: New Ice Age to Begin in 2014

Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon. Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014.

According to the scientist, our planet began to "get cold" in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055.

It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. According to them, in 2055 the Earth will start to "boil".

The expected decrease in temperature may have to become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the "little ice age", it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.

Source: vmdaily.ru


Cold Winter Kills at Least 40 in Afghanistan

Kabul Snow Storm
© AP Photo/Musadeq SadeqAn Afghan man, his head covered with his scarf, walks down the street during a snowstorm in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012.
Kabul - More than 40 people, most of them children, have frozen to death in what has been Afghanistan's coldest winter in years, an Afghan health official said Monday.

The government has recorded 41 deaths from freezing in three provinces - Kabul, Ghor and Badakhshan, said Health Ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar.

All but three or four of those deaths were children, he said. Twenty-four of the deaths were in the capital of Kabul, mostly in camps for people who have fled fighting elsewhere in the country.

Kabul has been experiencing its worst cold snap and heaviest snowfall in 15 years, according to the National Weather Center.


Ukraine's death toll from cold spell reaches 151

In most cases, people died because they were under the influence of alcohol, which increases the risk of hypothermia
© Anatolii Stepanov/ReutersPeople spend time in a snow-covered park in Kiev Feb. 16, 2012.
Kiev - Health officials say 151 people have died in the Ukraine during Eastern Europe's record-breaking cold spell, with alcohol regularly a contributing factor. The health ministry said Thursday that nearly 4,000 others have been hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite.

Emergency officials say in 90 percent of cases, people died because they were under the influence of alcohol, which increases the risk of hypothermia and generally decreases a person's ability to feel and respond to the cold. The cold spell has prompted authorities to close nurseries, schools and colleges across the country. Heavy snowfalls have also caused power outages and trapped hundreds of vehicles on motorways in southern Ukraine, as well as several ships in the Sea of Azov.

Bizarro Earth

Take A Look: A Venice Canal...Frozen

Frozen Venice
© mesebar2/flickr On Feb. 6, 2012, Venice's famed canals were choked with ice.
This winter has been an odd one so far in Italy. Earlier in February, Rome saw a surprisingly heavily snowfall. Later in the month, Venice's famous canals froze, as seen in the above picture.

Until this past weekend, much of North America -- except for Alaska -- has enjoyed a mild winter. The return of La Niña, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon featuring cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures that influences global weather patterns, has pushed the jet stream north, which is partly to blame for Alaska's snowy winter. But in the European region, the effects of La Niña are relatively weak and variable, according to the Met Office, the UK's weather service.

Regardless, cold air pouring southward into southern and eastern Europe has created a brutal winter. The cold has been blamed for tens to hundreds of deaths, according to news reports.


Emergency food flown into stranded European towns

© Vladimir Gogic/APA Serbian police helicopter delivers food to sailors stuck on stranded boats on the Danube river near Smederevo, Serbia, on Monday, Feb. 13.
Bucharest, Romania - Military planes and police helicopters flew in tons of emergency food to snowbound villages and ships in the Balkans on Monday, after blizzards so fierce that some people had to cut tunnels through 15 feet (4 meters) of snow to get out of their homes.

Since the end of January, Eastern Europe has been pummeled by a record-breaking cold snap and the heaviest snowfall in recent memory. Hundreds of people, many of them homeless, have died in the bitter cold and tens of thousands have been trapped by blocked roads inside homes with little heat.

Authorities declared a state of emergency Monday in eastern Romania, where 6,000 people have been cut off for days. About a dozen major roads were closed, 300 trains canceled and more than 1,000 schools shut down.

In addition to the flights, the defense ministry also sent 8,000 soldiers out clearing roads across Romania and helping those trapped by the overwhelming snow.

Emergency officials in Serbia used helicopters to deliver food and evacuate sailors stuck on icebound boats on the Danube river near the town of Smederevo. They also resupplied a Danube island near Pancevo, north of the capital of Belgrade.


Europe: Snow blocks in tens of thousands as cold death toll rises

A man walks between cars covered with snow in Podgorica.
© AFP/Savo PrelevicA man walks between cars covered with snow in Podgorica.
Snow drifts reaching up to rooftops kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes Saturday as the death toll from Europe's big freeze rose past 550.

More heavy snow fell on the Balkans and in Italy, while the Danube river, already closed to shipping for hundreds of kilometres (miles) because of thick ice, froze over in Bulgaria for the first time in 27 years.

Montenegro's capital of Podgorica was brought to a standstill by snow 50 centimetres (20 inches) deep, a 50-year record, closing the city's airport and halting rail services to Serbia because of an avalanche.

Eight more people were reported to have died in Romania, taking the toll for the country to 65, three in Serbia, one in the Czech Republic and one in Austria.

Polish fire brigade spokesman Pawel Fratcak said Saturday that defective heating had triggered a spate of deadly blazes in houses and apartments, with eight people killed on Friday night and three the night before.


Afghanistan Hit with Heaviest Snows in 15 Years

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More than 20 children have recently died due to the cold weather in Kabul which the Afghan capital has been experiencing its worst cold-snap and heaviest snows in at least 15 years, the National Weather Center said Wednesday. According to an Afghan based TV channel, some of the internally displaced people of the country warn that cold weather may claim more lives. Lack of food and firewood is said to be their main problems in the winter.

This year's severe cold weather has raised concerns among the Afghan population, especially the displaced families. "In this winter, eight children, three old men and women have so far lost their lives," one of the displaced people said. "We cannot pass the winter by burning plastic, paper and pieces of clothes. We really need help.""Living under these tents is very difficult," said another displaced person. "Life is difficult when you don't have anything to eat or burn."The families living under the tents in Kabul are badly in need of help and most of them may perish if not helped."We ask everyone to help these needy families, they can help one family and protect them from cold weather," Head of the Afghan Red Crescent, Fatima Gilani said.

The Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Returnees rejects reports about the death of 20 children due to severe cold in Kabul, a spokesman for the Ministry, Salamuddin Jurat said on Tuesday.The refugees living under the tents have not faced any kinds of losses so far, he added. "The reports are baseless and untrue," the spokesman said.Meanwhile, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health confirms the deaths due to the severe cold in Kabul."Because the cold weather was unprecedented and they were living under the tents, they died before arriving to our health facility during last month," Spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, Ghulam Sakhi Kargar told the channel.

There are currently more than 30,000 poor families living under tents in Kabul. There reports of high level of maternity deaths in these camps with 144 out of 1,000 children under five years of age.This comes as the recent avalanches in Badakhshan province claimed lives of more than 40 people.Several houses have reportedly been destroyed in these avalanches. Several routes in Badakhshan, Ghor and Daikundi provinces have been closed due to heavy snow falls.