Extreme Temperatures


Britain Faces Big Chill as Ocean Current Slows

Climate change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream - the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

They have found that one of the "engines" driving the Gulf Stream - the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea - has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades.

Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.

Such a change has long been predicted by scientists but the new research is among the first to show clear experimental evidence of the phenomenon.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, hitched rides under the Arctic ice cap in Royal Navy submarines and used ships to take measurements across the Greenland Sea.

Comment: Note, this was seven years ago. Since then, Arctic and Green land ice sheet melt has been increasing, with the Greenland sheet melt in 2012 setting an all-time record. Recent winters in the UK and Northern Europe have made it rather clear that we are facing a much colder Northern Hemisphere, which carries the possibility of a new mini, or full scale, ice age. One year soon, winter will arrive but spring and summer may not.


Snow already? Duluth, Minnesota gets summer snow

Light rain turned over to light snow for a time late Friday night at the Duluth airport, resulting in the city's first official measurable snowfall of the season, and its earliest measurable snowfall in 17 years.

The National Weather Service recorded a tenth of an inch of snow for the day. Weather spotters in Alborn and near Canyon reported three-tenths of an inch of snow overnight. Any snow that fell didn't last long, as ground temperatures remained warm and air temperatures climbed back above 40 in the early morning hours.

Duluth's tenth of an inch was short of the record for the date - two-tenths of an inch, which fell in 1974. One-tenth of inch of snow also fell on Sept. 21, 1995, the Weather Service reported.

The Weather Service had previously reported a trace of snow on Wednesday, which tied a record for the date. A trace is not considered measurable snow.

The earliest measurable snow in Duluth was in 1991, when 2.4 inches fell on Sept. 18. The average date for the first measurable snow in Duluth is Oct. 24.


Snow falls in Winnipeg on last day of summer

Canada - On the last day of summer, a few rogue snow flurries were actually spotted in Winnipeg Friday.

But Environment Canada's senior climatologist is sticking to his story.

Dave Phillips says Manitoba is still headed for a warmer-than-normal fall.

Phillips said after one of the hottest summers ever across Canada, Manitoba's lakes, rivers and the land are still very warm.

"There's a lot of residual heat that may certainly keep us warm as we move into October," he said.

That's certainly true in the short term, he added.

"Over the next few days nothing but that great Manitoba sunshine wall-to-wall."

Phillips is forecasting October to be warmer than normal, with normal to less-than-normal precipitation.


Where Did Autumn Go? Sudden Temperature Predictions Leave Some Scratching Their Heads

Britons can wave goodbye to the autumn as swathes of the country are set to be hit with freezing cold temperatures, frost and gale-force winds in an abrupt end to the balmy season.

Heavy rain and winds as strong as 50mph are expected to put a dampener on any weekend plans with some places seeing temperatures drop below freezing.

As the weather appears to skip a season, some parts of the country will feel frost tomorrow morning and gritters are already in place in preparation for winter.


Ice Age Approaches? - Antarctic Ice Area Sets Record High

"Day 258 of 2012 is the highest for this date since satellite scanning of Antarctic ice areas commenced 33 years ago" the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition announced today. "It is also the fifth highest daily value on record." Coalition chairman, Hon Barry Brill, says the most remarkable aspect is the extent to which the 2012 area exceeds normal Antarctica averages. "The sea ice cover yesterday was 311,000 square kilometers above the 1979-2012 average. The surplus ice is more than twice the area of New Zealand." The Antarctic dimensions come partly at the expense of Arctic sea ice," said Mr. Brill. "Over the 33-year period aggregate global sea ice volumes have remained steady, but there are fluctuations between the two polar areas from year to year.

The fluctuations are the result of ocean currents and wind patterns, rather than temperatures. Antarctic ice is much more important than that of the Arctic. The area of its sea ice is a million square kilometers larger than the highest value ever recorded in the Arctic. Then, of course, the Antarctic is an entire continent, with more than 90% of the earth's glacial ice," said Mr. Brill. "It is appropriate that this record should occur in a week that The Listener carries a cover story featuring the winter low point of Arctic ice, along with multiple pictures of calving glaciers and forlorn polar bears," said Mr. Brill. "The magazine has little to say about the Antarctic apart from complaining that it is "poorly understood."

The author also avoids mentioning the glaring facts that no significant global warming has been recorded in the past 16 years, and that sea level rise is apparently decelerating. "It is unfortunate that under-informed writers, albeit unwittingly, mislead their readers who should be helped to understand the difference between sea ice extent and ice cap ice, both thickness and extent as regards the latter. The ice cap in the Arctic is small compared to the Antarctic. The cap of the Antarctic is increasing in thickness in most places, except around the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea ice extent is largely a consequence of sea surface temperature, ocean currents and wind," said Mr. Brill, who advised those interested in graphic confirmation of Antarctic sea ice readings to refer to this link as well as this link.


Meteor Impact May Have Started Ice Ages

Impact Event
© NASAArtist's impression of a deep ocean meteor impact.
Sydney -- A huge meteor striking Earth 2.5 million years could have generated a massive tsunami and plunged the world into the Ice Ages, Australian researchers suggest.

Scientists at the University of New South Wales say that because the meteor -- more than a mile across - crashed into deep water in the southern Pacific Ocean, most researchers have discounted its potential for catastrophic impacts on coastlines around the Pacific rim or its capacity to destabilize the entire planet's climate system.

"This is the only known deep-ocean impact event on the planet and it's largely been forgotten because there's no obvious giant crater to investigate, as there would have been if it had hit a land mass," lead study author James Goff said in a university release Wednesday.

Goff is co-director of UNSW's Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre and Natural Hazards Research Laboratory.


New Evidence for Comet Crash That Killed Ice Age Beasts

© University of South CarolinaSpherules from archaeological sites in the study. The microscopic particles have marred surface patterns from being crystallized in a molten state and then rapidly cooled.
Scientists say they have new evidence to support the idea that a space rock crashed into Earth about 12,900 years ago, wiping out some of North America's biggest beasts and ushering in a period of extreme cooling.

If such an impact took place, it did not leave behind any obvious clues like a crater. But microscopic melted rock formations called spherules and nano-sized diamonds in ancient soil layers could be telltale signs of a big collision. The mix of particles could only have formed under extreme temperatures, created by a comet or asteroid impact.

Researchers first reported in 2007 that these particles were found at several archaeological sites in layers of sediment 12,900 years old. Now an independent study published in the (Sept.17) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) says those findings hold up.


Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago in North America and propel the Earth into an Ice Age?

Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago, wiping out both beast and man in North America and propelling the earth back into an ice age? That's a question that has been hotly debated by scientists since 2007, with the University of South Carolina's Topper archaeological site right in the middle of the comet impact controversy. However, a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides further evidence that it may not be such a far-fetched notion.

Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist in USC's College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author on the study that upholds a 2007 PNAS study by Richard Firestone, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Firestone found concentrations of spherules (micro-sized balls) of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites that his team examined. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the earth's atmosphere.

Among the sites examined was USC's Topper, one of the most pristine U.S. sites for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples. "This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene," said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. "It's both exciting and gratifying."

The Younger Dryas Impact Event and the Cycles of Cosmic Catastrophes - Climate Scientists Awakening

Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow

Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls

Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!


Ice Age Cometh: Winter in September as thousands of sheep trapped in 'unprecedented' Iceland snowdrifts

"Unprecedented" cold and snow in Iceland.

Thousands of sheep (13,000) buried alive in snowdrifts is nothing short of disastrous.

Here's a video showing the rescue of a sheep buried by snow.

Snow in North Iceland in early September is not unheard of but snowfall of two to three meters overnight at this time of year - when the sheep are still in highland pastures - is highly unusual.

Two to three meters (7-11 feet) of snow overnight! That's a small taste of what the mammoths experienced.


Antarctic Ice Area Sets Another Record - NSIDC Is Silent

Day 256 Antarctic ice is the highest ever for the date, and the eighth highest daily reading ever recorded. All seven higher readings occurred during the third week of September, 2007 - the week of the previous Arctic record minimum.
Antarctic Ice
© Arctic Climate Research at the University of IllinoisSource
NSIDC does not mention the record Antarctic cold or ice on their web site, choosing inside to feature an article about global warming threatening penguins.
News at NSIDC
© NSIDCSource