Extreme Temperatures


Bering Sea Sees Surprising Record Ice Cover

Bering Sea Ice Covered
© NASAOn April 11, sea ice still covered the Bering Sea.

Arctic sea ice has persistently dwindled over the last three decades, yet sea ice set record highs in waters around Alaska this past winter.

Ice in the Bering Sea not only covered more area than usual, it also stuck around longer, bucking the downward trend in sea ice cover observed since 1979, when satellite records for the region began.

The Arctic as a whole had below-average sea ice cover during the 2011 to 2012 winter season. At its maximum, reached in mid-March, sea ice covered 5.88 million square miles (15.24 million square kilometers), the ninth lowest in the satellite record.

Yet Alaskan waters were choked with ice.

Sea ice cover in the Bering Sea was well above normal for much of the season, and reached a record-high extent in March 2012. In addition, ice surrounded the Pribilof Islands, tiny volcanic islands in the middle of the Bering Sea, for a record number of days this winter.

Arrow Up

The Ice Age Cometh: Thickening Of Karakoram Glaciers In Himalayas Confirmed; Scientists Baffled By Satellite Images

At a time when most of the world's glaciers are thinning at a double rate, a few Himalayan glaciers have been growing thicker for over a decade now.

New satellite images and data have proved that some glaciers on the Karakoram mountain range, a part of the Himalayas, have gained ice mass, according to a report published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

"Assessments of the state of health of Hindu-Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya glaciers and their contribution to regional hydrology and global sea-level rise suffer from a severe lack of observations. An anomalous gain of mass has been suggested for the Karakoram glaciers, but was not confirmed by recent estimates of mass balance," the scientists at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble noted in the report, titled "Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century."

Based on the images acquired from LANDSAT TM, which provides higher resolution and highly accurate images of the Earth's surface, scientists found that a few glaciers in the region surged and advanced between 1998 and 2008.

The team found that out of the total glacier area of 5,615 sq km, about 1,460 sq km of area showed a surge in ice.


Ice Age Cometh? Forecasters predict the "Coldest May in 100 years"

Britain could be facing the coldest May for 100 years, with snow, bit
© Tim Ireland/PAA family walk in the snow in the Brecon Beacons, south Wales
ter winds and freezing temperatures putting summer on hold.

The winter weather follows a wet start to April, with the threat of floods and storms to come over the next few days.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for the South West, London, South East, Wales and the West of England due to flooding on roads and 60mph winds.

Hail storms are expected across the country and it is feared windows could be broken by giant hail, up to 1cm thick. In the north and Scotland temperatures could fall to -2C.

Despite the ongoing drought, heavy downpours could cause localised flooding, even in areas where there is hosepipe ban in place.

Independent forecaster WeatherAction has also predicted the next month will be the "coldest or near coldest for 100 years" in the East of England, with cold northwesterly winds.


Top Scientists, Government Agencies and Publications Have - For Over 100 Years - Been Terrified of a New Ice Age

ice age London
© Twentieth Century Fox
Fear of the Big Freeze

There has been an intense debate among leading scientists, government agencies and publications over whether the bigger threat is global warming or a new ice age. As we've previously noted, top researchers have feared an ice age - off and on - for more than 100 years. (This post does not weigh in one way or the other. It merely presents a historical record.)

On February 24, 1895, the New York Times published an article entitled "PROSPECTS OF ANOTHER GLACIAL PERIOD; Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again", which starts with the following paragraph:
The question is again being discussed whether recent and long-continued observations do not point to the advent of a second glacial period, when the countries now basking in the fostering warmth of a tropical sun will ultimately give way to the perennial frost and snow of the polar regions.
In September 1958, Harper's wrote an article called "The Coming Ice Age".

On January 11, 1970, the Washington Post wrote an article entitled "Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age - Scientists See Ice Age In the Future" which stated:
Get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters - the worst may be yet to come. That's the long-long-range weather forecast being given out by "climatologists." the people who study very long-term world weather trends.


Obama Secret Service Agents Sent Home from Colombia Over Alleged Misconduct

© Enrique Marcarian/ReutersColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriguez receive U.S. President Barack Obama as they arrive at the San Felipe Castle for a state dinner before the start of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena April 13, 2012.
A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, put the number of agents sent home at 12. Secret Service was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The incident threatened to overshadow Mr. Obama's economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment, but also did not dispute the allegations.


Anchorage breaks seasonal snowfall record

While winter is a distant memory for most Americans, it continues unabated in Anchorage, Alaska -- where a new bout of precipitation this weekend helped the city break its record for seasonal snowfall, at more than 133 inches (3.38 meters).

Some 3.4 inches of snow -- and counting -- had fallen as of 4 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) Saturday in Anchorage, according to the National Weather Service.
© VL Vercammen/CNNSnow caused the roof to collapse in the auditorium at the Abbott Loop Community Church in Anchorage, Alaska
That brought the seasonal total for the city to 133.6 inches -- breaking the record of 132.6 inches, set in 1954-1955.

And with snow continuing to fall into early Sunday morning, the figure promises to get even larger.

"Okay...now the records broken, could you please make the snow go away??!!" wrote one commenter of the Facebook page of the weather service's Alaska division.


First Glaciers in Japan Recognized

Japanese Glaciers
© Tateyama Caldera Sabo Musuem / KyodoCoup de glacier: An ice gorge near Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, that has been recognized as one of the three first glaciers found in Japan is shown last June. All three are in the Northern Alps.
Scientists have found three glaciers in Toyama Prefecture, the first recognized in Japan and the southernmost in East Asia.

Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum discovered the three slow-moving chunks of ice in the Hida Mountain Range, otherwise known as the Northern Alps.

Their research paper submitted to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice was accepted Tuesday, the museum said.

A glacier is defined as a large mass of ice that over many years "flows" owing to its great weight, according to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice. They are often found on high mountains, such as the Himalayas, and have even been found on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is almost on the equator. Until now, the southernmost glaciers in East Asia were on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

"We have known something similar to glaciers existed, so we checked to see if the masses of ice are moving," said Hajime Lida, a researcher for the museum.


Carbon Dioxide Linked to End of Last Ice Age

CO2 and Ice Age
© Jeremy ShakunThis graph shows Antarctica warming up slightly before atmospheric carbon dioxide rose and well before global temperatures warmed. In a new study, researchers explain that a change in the Earth's orbit resulted in a change in ocean circulation that prompted the Antarctic to warm before the rest of the planet.

The circumstances that ended the last ice age, somewhere between 19,000 and 10,000 years ago, have been unclear. In particular, scientists aren't sure how carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, played into the giant melt.

New research indicates it did in fact help drive this prehistoric episode of global warming, even though it did not kick it off. A change in the Earth's orbit likely started of the melt, setting off a chain of events, according to the researchers.

The ambiguity about the end of the ice age originates in the Antarctic. Ice cores from the continent reveal a problematic time lag: Temperatures appeared to begin warming before atmospheric carbon dioxide increased. This has led scientists to question how increasing carbon dioxide - a frequently cited cause for global warming now and in the distant past - factored into the end of the last ice age. Global warming skeptics have also cited this as evidence carbon dioxide produced by humans is not responsible for modern global warming.

But the data from Antarctica alone offer too narrow a perspective to represent what was happening on a global scale, according to lead study researcher Jeremy Shakun of Harvard University.

"These ice cores only tell you about the temperatures in Antarctica where they are from, and if you think about today the same way, you don't want to look at one thermometer record from London or New York to prove or disprove global warming," Shakun said during a press conference on Tuesday (April 3).


Climate Obstinately Refuses to Cooperate with Global Warming Alarmists

ice age
© Unknown
Are you worried about global warming during this unusually mild winter? Geeze, who would have expected to see 75º F March temperatures in Chicago? Or those earlier than usual cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. which hasn't happened since 1946 (albeit, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 310 ppm vs. 385 ppm now)? Even regions of the Southern Hemisphere had a year with practically no winter temperatures.

So was Al Gore right after all? Perhaps you heard...he's been off to Antarctica watching the ice melt along with NASA's famous climate alarmist James Hansen, featured ClimateGate figure Kevin Trenberth, billionaire Richard Branson and about 100 other panicky pals. Their timing is perfect, offering a lot for them to observe. The Antarctic Peninsula sea ice expanse is nearly 200% greater now than usual.

For those of you here who would have preferred more typical sub-zero temperatures and rampaging tag team blizzards, I've also got some great news. While these conditions bypassed the continental U.S. this year for other locations, don't discard those flannel long johns just yet. There's every indication that you are going to need them over the next many years.

First, for a bit of background perspective, let's realize that climate change is very real, and has been going on for a very long time...dating back to always. It actually began to occur even before the advent of flatulent dinosaurs, industrial smoke stacks and SUVs. And although temperatures have been generally mild over about the past 150 years (since the end of the last "Little Ice Age"...not a true Ice Age), we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming.

The first warming period occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn't change much, they couldn't have been the cause before 1950. The second, following a slight cool-down, began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Nino year. Yet U.K. Hadley Center and U.S. NOAA balloon instrument analyses fail to show any evidence, whatsoever, of a human CO2 emission-influenced warming telltale "signature" in the upper troposphere over the equator as predicted by all U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global circulation models.


Ice Age Migration? New DNA study suggests people moved between continents before recorded history

© UnknownEarly man: A third of people in modern Europe show genetic traces of populations from sub-Saharan Africa, leading researchers to conclude that people migrated between the continents as early as 11,000 years ago.
People moved between Africa and Europe long before recorded history - and the migrations might have been driven by Europeans moving south to 'weather' ice ages.

The genetic traces of long-forgotten migrations from Africa to Europe live on in Europeans today.

A third of the genetic traces of sub-Saharan lineages in today's Europe come from prehistory.

Researchers think that Europeans 'pushed south' by glaciers might have met with populations from sub-Saharan Africa.

People moved between the continents as early as 11,000 years ago.

Geneticists used mitochondrial DNA to look for the traces of ancient migrations.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed directly from mother to child with no DNA from the father - and tiny changes in the sequence come to 'characterise' different populations, which can be used to trace movements and migrations of groups of humans in the past.

Large numbers of people moved between Africa and Europe during recent and well-documented time periods such as the Roman Empire, the Arab conquest, and the slave trade - but the researchers found that a third of sub-Saharan lineages came from before these movements.

'It was very surprising to find that more than 35 percent of the sub-Saharan lineages in Europe arrived during a period that ranged from more than 11,000 years ago to the Roman Empire times,' said Dr. Antonio Salas of the University of Santiago de Compostela and senior author of the study.