Extreme Temperatures


Best of the Web: Winter returns to Iceland - Snowstorm in June

© mbl.isHoltavörðuheiði.
Winter has returned to Iceland!

Officially, summer should have already started in Iceland in late April - at least according to the old Icelandic calendar. But since the beginning of the week, a low-pressure front has brought back the Arctic winter in full force - in June.

Yesterday, Art and Alina travelled to Akureyri to witness an unusual summer storm that unexpectedly hit the North and East of Iceland, blanketing the landscapes with snow and ice just as they were eagerly awaiting summer.

Comment: See also: Snow in June on Scotland's mountains as Arctic air sweeps in


Killer heatwaves are ravaging India - and things are about to get worse

India, heat wave, child, fountain
© Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesChild cools down in water fountain in scorching heat at sector 34 on May 29, 2024 in Noida, India. Maximum temperature reaching as high as 47.3C, highest recorded this season.

Comment: The attribution of the heatwave to human carbon emissions is both wrong and wrong-headed. Despite this, the temperatures and the numbers of people affected by the heatwaves are still noteworthy.

Even in a country so accustomed to spells of searing heat, India has been grappling with temperatures that have seen the mercury rise to increasingly unbearable heights - and with fatal consequences.

Delhi recorded close to 50C (122F) in May, while the heatwave sweeping across other states in northern India has taken a substantial toll on the nation's election workers. According to experts, rising summer temperatures are here to stay.

As many as 61 people have died due to the current heatwave, including 33 on election duty and a voter in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India's most populous state, as well as eight on election duty in neighboring Bihar. The Health Ministry confirmed 56 heat-related deaths in the country by May 30, 46 of which had happened in that month alone.

The Indian Meteorological Department issued an orange alert (cautioning people to "be prepared") on June 1, the final day of voting, and the 'loo' - the hot summer wind - depressed the turnout by 61.63%, 3.5% lower than in 2019.

What is worrying is that the latest World Weather Attribution Report released last month predicts that such heatwaves will be 45 times more likely (compared to pre-industrial times) in the years to come, attributing the cause to human-induced climate change.


Blizzard in the Himalayas traps trekkers, killing 9

Snow-covered Nanda Devi mountain
© Reuters File PhotoSnow-covered Nanda Devi mountain is seen from the town of Auli in the northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India.
At least nine Indian trekkers died in the Himalayas after getting trapped during a blizzard, authorities said on Thursday, as rescue teams airlifted their bodies and five survivors to safety.

The Indian Air Force shared footage on Thursday that showed rescue teams working near a helicopter in the snow-covered mountains.

The group of climbers from the southern state of Karnataka were hit by heavy snowfall in the remote mountains of Uttarakhand state in north India, said Krishna Byre Gowda, a top Karnataka minister.

"Snow intensified into blizzard. By 6 PM, 2 trekkers succumbed to bad weather. Snow and wind made movement impossible. Visibility dropped to nil. They huddled together for the night on the route. Some more succumbed in the night," Gowda wrote in a social media post on Wednesday.

A guide with the group alerted rescuers about the situation on Tuesday evening after trekking for a while to find mobile network connectivity, and teams reached the spot early on Wednesday, the minister added.

(Reporting by Shivam Patel and Tanvi Mehta; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Solar Flares

Rethinking the sun's cycles - New physical model reinforces planetary hypothesis

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Latvia have posited the first comprehensive physical explanation for the sun's various activity cycles. It identifies vortex-shaped currents on the sun, known as Rossby waves, as mediators between the tidal influences of Venus, Earth as well as Jupiter and the sun's magnetic activity. The researchers thus present a consistent model for solar cycles of different lengths - and another strong argument to support the previously controversial planetary hypothesis. The results have now been published in the journal Solar Physics (DOI: 10.1007/s11207-024-02295-x).
Our Sun
© ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI TeamThe sun is currently approaching a maximum activity in the 11-year “Schwabe cycle” again, here a Solar Orbiter image from October 2023.
Although the sun, being near to us, is the best researched star, many questions about its physics have not yet been completely answered. These include the rhythmic fluctuations in solar activity. The most famous of these is that, on average, the sun reaches a radiation maximum every eleven years - which experts refer to as the Schwabe cycle. This cycle of activity occurs because the sun's magnetic field changes during this period and eventually reverses polarity. This, in itself, is not unusual for a star - if it weren't for the fact that the Schwabe cycle is remarkably stable.

The Schwabe cycle is overlaid by other, less obvious fluctuations in activity ranging from a few hundred days to several hundred years, each named after their discoverers. Although there have already been various attempts to explain these cycles and mathematical calculations, there is still no comprehensive physical model.

Snowflake Cold

Snow in June on Scotland's mountains as Arctic air sweeps in

A dusting of snow at Cairngorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore on Tuesday
© Peter JollyA dusting of snow at Cairngorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore on Tuesday
Snow has been falling over some of Scotland's highest mountains with temperatures forecast to drop below -10C in the most exposed areas.

The Cairngorms were among upland areas to see a dusting on Tuesday.

Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) said Arctic air was affecting the hills, especially in the Highlands, and there had been significant wind chill.

BBC Weather said snow on mountain tops in June was not that unusual, and usually happened every three to five years on average.


Snowfall hits parts of the Northern Cape, South Africa for the first time in about 40 years

The Southern African Large Telescope in Sutherland in the Northern Cape covered in snow as a cold front sweeps over the country. Snowfall continued in parts of the country and resulted in the closure of several roads in the Eastern Cape.
© NICO VAN DER MERWEThe Southern African Large Telescope in Sutherland in the Northern Cape covered in snow as a cold front sweeps over the country. Snowfall continued in parts of the country and resulted in the closure of several roads in the Eastern Cape.
It has been a winter wonderland for some and a morning of chaos for others as snowfall continued in parts of the country on Tuesday.

TimesLIVE Premium on Monday reported snowfall had hit parts of the Northern Cape for the first time in about 40 years as a powerful weather system sweeps across South Africa.

The cold weather was preceded by deadly storms along much of the Cape coast, with people missing, according to rescue officials.

The SA Weather Service (SAWS) issued a disruptive snow warning for Tuesday across high-lying parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Video clips and images emerged on social media on Tuesday showing homes and roads covered in a blanket of white. Others showed citizens braving the freezing weather to pose outside and take pictures in the snow.


29 stranded hikers rescued from Germany's highest mountain Zugspitze, after over 6 feet of unexpected June snowfall

29 hikers had to be rescued after becoming stranded on the Zugspitze.
29 hikers had to be rescued after becoming stranded on the Zugspitze.
A rescue operation was launched on Saturday, June 1, to evacuate dozens of hikers who found themselves stranded on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, due to treacherous weather conditions.

According to the Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service, 29 hikers attempted to scale the 2,962-meter (9,718-foot) peak despite heavy snowfall and poor visibility. At around 2,500 meters (8,202 feet), the hikers could not continue their ascent due to the accumulation of fresh snow, which reached depths of up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) in some areas.

The Mountain Rescue Service, in collaboration with staff from the Zugspitze mountain railway company, mobilized to locate and extract the stranded hikers. The rescue efforts were further complicated by the freezing temperatures, which caused partial icing of the cable car equipment, rendering it inoperable at times.


Indian capital swelters as temperature hits all-time high of 52.9 Celsius

A woman shields her child from the sun during a heat wave in New Delhi on Wednesday.
© Money Sharma/AFPA woman shields her child from the sun during a heat wave in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Delhi recorded an all-time high temperature of 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.22 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday as extreme heat conditions gripped the north and western parts of India, causing students to faint in schools and drinking water taps to dry up.

A heat wave alert has been in place for large parts of India since last week but on Wednesday the temperature in Mungeshpur, a densely packed corner of Delhi, crossed the 50 C mark, the weather office said.

The Indian capital has had temperatures of over 45 C in previous years but never gone as high as 52.9 C.

Streets in Mungeshpur in northwest Delhi were deserted and most shops were shut as people stayed indoors to avoid the searing heat, while residents handed out free cold drinks in Narela after temperatures went up to 49.9 C on Tuesday.

Comment: India's Met. Department has since admitted that there was an error at the measuring station. Link
It gets even better though, because that 52.9C (127.2F) doing the AGW rag rounds was from a faulty sensor. Temperatures in the area were actually around 47C (116.6F), according to the Indian Meteorological Department, some 6C lower than reported.

That near 53C posted in New Delhi suburbs, in Mungeshpur to be specific, was an error officially acknowledged by the IMD:

India Met Department's correction notice

Cloud Precipitation

Texas town of Marathon deploys snow plows after 50-degree temperature swing and 2 feet of hail

In this screen grab from a video, an accumulation of hail is shown in Marathon, Texas, on May 29, 2024.
© Harry WeinmanIn this screen grab from a video, an accumulation of hail is shown in Marathon, Texas, on May 29, 2024.
As severe weather continued Thursday through the Great Plains, residents of a southwest Texas town reported a dramatic temperature drop on Wednesday and hail so deep they had to deploy snow plows to clear the streets.

The temperature in Marathon, Texas, fell more than 50 degrees on Wednesday afternoon as thermometers tumbled from around 105 degrees to the mid-50s in about an hour, Brian Curran, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service Midland, Texas, told ABC News.

Curran attributed the wild decline in temperature to the severe hail storm that hit Marathon.

"It was like an air conditioner," Curran said.

Brad Wilson, chief of the Marathon Fire Department, told ABC News that it was as if conditions turned from summer to winter in an hour.

"There was about two feet of hail on our main street right in the center of town. It looked like snow," Wilson said. "We went out there with a tape measure last night before the road crews came and plowed the roads."


Late May snowfall sweeps through Himachal Pradesh, India

While plains across the nation sizzle in the summer heat, a cool escape is brewing in the hills. Himachal Pradesh's beloved Manali just threw a snowball of joy amidst the scorching season, welcoming tourists with open arms.

On Thursday, the heavens decided to gift Manali with a fresh coat of snow, turning Rohtang into a winter wonderland. Tourists, both locals and adventurers from afar, couldn't resist the call of the frosty peaks.

Videos capturing the snowfall and rain circulated on social media.

According to the weather reports, Manali got a good soaking with 10 mm of rain, followed by Keylong, Kalpa, Shimla, Bhuntar, and Sainj. The mercury decided to take a chill pill, dropping a couple of degrees in the mid and higher hills.

Watch the videos below: