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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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Extreme Temperatures


Summer snow blankets the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland & Cervinia, Italy

The iconic Matterhorn mountain and surrounding ski area awoke to a beautiful dump of snow this morning, as fresh snow coated the area.

The dumped snow fell overnight across the Matterhorn Ski Paradise area, a unique cross-border ski resort encompassing Zermatt in Switzerland and Cervinia in Italy. Webcam footage showed accumulations of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of snow at the summit and ski area base, turning the whole area into a beautiful white.

While summer snowfalls do occasionally happen in the Alps, it's still unusual in August and exciting to get snow at that time of year.


Las Leñas Resort, Argentina, reports storm snowfall total of over 11 FEET in 4 days

Las Leñas base area on the morning of August 23rd, 2023. Captured by PowderQuest.

Las Leñas base area on the morning of August 23rd, 2023.
In the latest SnowBrains Forecast, we knew it was going to be a busy week for South America. A powerful storm was coming in with the possibility of many resorts seeing 3-6 feet of snow with some seeing as much as 9-12 feet or more.

The forecast may have materialized the most at Las Leñas Resort in Argentina when it reported over 11 feet of new snow at mid-mountain over the last four days. You can tell they were excited when they posted on their Instagram page earlier this week with the caption "This is how we are today August 22. It's the moment!"


Eastern Bolivia battles raging wildfires, western Bolivia faces unexpected snowfall

Bolivia is facing weather extremes on both ends. the eastern part of the South American nation is battling with raging wildfires. While the western part is under a cold spell, experiencing unexpected snowfall.


Summer snow on the Alps in Germany and Austria

Webcam screen capture obtained August 8th  Zugspitze Webcams
© Zugspitze Webcams
Webcam screen capture obtained August 8th.
Snow in August? Ja!

Yesterday evening, Zugspitze ski area, a German resort located on the flanks of the nation's highest mountain -- also called Zugspitze -- shared on Facebook that it'd received roughly four inches at its summit area.

While I wouldn't count on Zugspitze opening to skiers any time soon, the photos the resort posted are worth checking out and indicate that ski season, with a bit of luck, is just around the corner.


August snowfall in the Dolomites and Pyrenees in Europe

Bad weather continues to hit Italy with force and a rather atypical phenomenon is taking place in the North in these hours.

The abrupt drop in temperatures, aided by the abundant rainfall, brought snow to the Dolomites.

This morning, Saturday 5 August, the completely whitewashed peak of the Civetta is clearly visible from the Val di Zoldo. An intense snowfall that has led many to think: "Are we on August 5th or December 5th?".

Comment: A french report of the snowfall on the 4th of August in the Pyrenees include these images:

Snow is making a comeback in the Pyrenees… in August! Here, the Pic du Midi.
© G.Pineau
Snow is making a comeback in the Pyrenees… in August! Here, the Pic du Midi.

Arrow Down

The 'War on Climate Change' is coming...again

War on Climate Change
© Off-Guardian
Last week, a senior member of Parliament for the UK's Labour Party went on television demanding the UK - maybe even the entire world - be on a "war-like footing" to combat climate change.

Speaking on the BBC's flagship political magazine Newsnight, Barry Gardiner MP argued for unity of purpose against climate change's "existential threat":
"...if this were a war we wouldn't be arguing about whether the Labour strategy or the Tory strategy were better, we would be working together to try and win [...] Well, it is a war. It is a war for survival and climate change threatens everything [...] So actually instead of playing party political games about who is up, who is down, what we need to be doing is saying let's get together, let's mobilise on a war footing and that is what is needed..."
Two days later, the exact same thoughts were expressed in a Financial Times column by Camilla Cavendish, former head of David Cameron's Downing Street policy unit and Kennedy School of Government alumnus:
The answer is surely to invoke a wartime spirit, and make the fight against climate change a joint endeavour against a common enemy. If the public and political will is there, human ingenuity can prevail, with remarkable speed. In the second world war, America transformed its manufacturing base to produce tanks and ammunition. The Covid pandemic resulted in the discovery and development of vaccines at scale, saving millions of lives.
It's interesting to note the comparison to Covid, but we'll come back that.

The campaign isn't isolated to the UK, in fact it kicked off on the other side of the Atlantic, with the Inquirer running an article headlined "President Biden should address the nation and declare war...on climate change" on July 16th, which argued:
Biden and his aides need to grab that metaphorical bullhorn and call the TV networks to announce a prime-time address from the Oval Office that will declare a national emergency — in essence, a state of war — to fight climate change.
Joe Biden himself called climate change an "existential threat" on July 27th.

The invocation of metaphorical war is of course nothing new.

"War" is a very important word in the world of politics and propaganda. It has - or is assumed to have - an immediate effect on the collective public mind; an instant connection to generations of shared memories, that promotes feelings of conformity and solidarity.

Some psychological study or focus group clearly figured this out decades ago, and as such the word "war" is frequently used to control narratives.


Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California sits at an astounding 1,000% of normal

The Sierra Nevada Mountains are currently holding a staggering 1,000% of normal snow water equivalents as of July 21, 2023, following a historic winter season.

The last time the Sierra Nevada saw such a significant late summer snowpack was over a decade ago, in 2011, when late spring storms combined with intense snowfall throughout the season contributed to a similar late-summer snow accumulation. Since then, there have been only two other years, 2017 and 2019, when any snowpack was documented in July.


Cobalt carnage, child labor and ecological destruction

Horrific for cell phones, worse for electric vehicles, calamitous under Net Zero.
Child Labor
© Watts Up with That
Global cobalt demand soared with the advent of cell phones and laptop computers. It exploded with the arrival of electric vehicles and now is skyrocketing in tandem with government EV mandates and subsidies. Cobalt improves battery performance, extends driving range and reduces fire risks.

Demand will reach stratospheric heights if governments remain obsessed with climate change and Net Zero. States and nations would have to switch to electric cars, trucks, buses and tractors; end coal and gas electricity generation; convert gas furnaces, water heaters and stoves to electricity; and provide alternative power for windless, sunless periods. Electricity generation would triple or quadruple.

Weather-dependent wind turbines and solar panels would require billions of battery modules, to stabilize power grids and avoid blackouts every time wind and sunshine don't cooperate.

All that Net Zero transformation equipment - plus transmission lines, substations and transformers - will require billions of tons of cobalt, lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, iron, aluminum, rare earths and other raw materials at scales unprecedented in human history. That will necessitate mining, ore processing, manufacturing, land disruption and pollution at equally unprecedented levels.

Just President Biden's first tranche of US offshore wind turbines (30,000 megawatts by 2030) will require some 110,000 tons of copper, for the turbines alone. Transmission lines, transformers and batteries are extra. Based on average global ore concentrations, getting that copper would require extracting 40,000,000 tons of surface rock (overburden) and 25,000,000 tons of copper ore.

But those 2,500 12-megawatt 800-foot-tall turbines would provide barely enough electricity to power New York state on a hot summer day, if the wind is blowing, and before its Net Zero mandates kick in.


Sea ice extent above average around Svalbard Norway despite high sea surface temperature in northern Atlantic

Polar bears
© Bonnie Jo Mount
Polar bear habitat around Svalbard Norway above average despite high temps in N. Atlantic

Sea ice extent for Svalbard was above average yesterday and has been since 17 July, despite "record-breaking" sea surface temperatures in June.

Comment: Meanwhile down in Antarctica, which is in the middle of winter, record cold temperatures have been documented. The claim that 'sea ice extent continues to plummet' there is likely to be untrue (see Tony Heller's tweet).

Some researchers propose that the higher than average sea surface temperatures could be due to less cloud cover than usual, whereas higher than usual water temperatures overall may be, in some instances, due to increased activity of submarine volcanoes: 'Unheard of' marine heatwave off UK and Irish coasts poses serious threat


Mount Hutt Ski Resort in New Zealand gets big snow dump of over 39 inches

Mt Hutt received 70 cm (28 inches) of snow in the last 24 hours.

Mt Hutt received 70 cm (28 inches) of snow in the last 24 hours.
After a slow start to the season in New Zealand, the Snow Gods have finally blessed the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' with a big snow dump. A classic cold front hit with wind, rain, and snow sweeping across both the North and South Island and bringing a much-needed snow dump to Mount Hutt Ski Resort.

So far, the south-west of both islands was hit by the highest precipitation, with the majority of snow falling on the South Island and only a trace of snow on the North Island. The storm is supposed to last until Wednesday and bring more snow to all ski areas before it clears. The low-pressure system is expected to stay in the area for the week.

Mt Hutt received the lion-share of this snow dump, with 70 cm (28 inches) of snow falling at the base area of this Canterbury region ski area. It is estimated that more than 1m (39 inches) fell at the summit, but the heavy snowfalls mean that avalanche danger is considerable, and the resort is closed today. Mt Hutt's mountain crew will be working throughout the day and night to get the resort ready to open tomorrow, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.