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Mon, 30 Jan 2023
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Extreme Temperatures

Sun

US: Chicago on track to break sunshine shortage record

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If the thought of entering another Chicago winter isn't depressing enough, meteorologists say the city is on track to have one of the gloomiest Decembers in its history.

There has been no direct sunshine recorded in Chicago for 15 days this month, according to Frank Wachowski, who mans the official North West Side Midway Airport sunlight observatory.

Since Dec. 12, the city has seen only 33 minutes of sunshine, which peeked through the clouds Thursday.

That puts December 2014 on track to break the record for darkest December since 1975, when the National Weather Service recorded 19 percent sun exposure. As of Monday, Wachowski had recorded 16 percent sun exposure this month.

The record for darkest month ever in Chicago was November 1985, when sunlight hit the city for 16 percent of the month.

Percentages are determined by dividing the total number of hours between sunrise and sunset by the minutes of exposed sunshine recorded with monitoring equipment, Wachowski said.

Wachowski, 77, is a retired meteorologist, but since 1980 he has recorded sunshine data with official transistor sensors mounted atop his home in southwest suburban Burbank. He set up his home operation after the National Weather Service abandoned sunshine monitoring in the early 1980s, allowing him to keep the equipment and monitor data independently.

Wachowski said that in part, the lack of snowfall could be to blame. If a snowstorm blows through Chicago, the tightly packed cloud cover might dissipate. In the meantime, the clouds have been locked between a layer of cold air close to the ground with warmer air above the clouds.

Comment: It's probably going to get a lot darker and gloomier with the what is what is coming our way. See:

The virtues of Vitamin D: It's time we saw the light

Got Melatonin? Melatonin improves mood in winter depression

Teaching the neurons to meditate


Binoculars

Snowy owl sightings on the rise across the upper US

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If you have a passion for birds or even if you're so-so about them, you're going to love this. All the indicators are present telling us this year is going to be witness to another snowy owl eruption across the upper United States. That means for us up here on the Range, too!

Last year, 2013-2014, we saw what was possibly the largest eruption of snowy owls during the last century. This year could be even better. There have already been 44 snowy owls reported in Minnesota alone.

There are different theories on why Snowy Owls leave the Arctic. Some believe that due to such great nesting success, a shortage of food forces the younger owls to leave the area in search of better hunting territories. Others believe the younger owls leave because they have not perfected their hunting skills yet and would not be able to survive competing among older, wiser owls. No matter the reason, what this really means to most of us is this will be a great winter to get out and see one of these beautiful visitors from the Arctic Tundra.

Binoculars

Rare Arctic gyrfalcon seen in Madbury, New Hampshire

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© Hanne & Jens Eriksen/VIREO
Gyrfalcon travels south from normal Arctic range

The largest of the falcons, a rare gyrfalcon, was seen in Madbury during the past week, according to the Audubon Society's rare bird alert.

Fast like a peregrine falcon and wearing a faint mustache, gyrfalcons live in the Arctic.

According to the Peregrine Fund, the birds of prey are very sensitive to changes in the environment.

The group said pesticides, loss of habitat or a decrease in prey can affect populations of gyrfalcons.

Snowflake Cold

30 die as cold wave hits north India

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© AFP Photo
An Indian local walks with his yak at Kufri, near Shimla, India, on December 13, 2014.
In some of the heaviest spells of snowfall Uttarakhand has seen in recent times, 30 people, according to the State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, have died in the hills in the last two days.

Himachal Pradesh also recorded heavy snowfall. The icy winds coming from these hill region swept Uttar Pradesh as well, leading to drop in temperatures. Lucknow was coldest in UP with minimum temperature 6.6 degrees Celsius.

People woke up to foggy morning in Lucknow. However, strong winds cleared sky by 9 am. These winds also kept mercury low during the day. The maximum temperature despite bright sunshine was 21.5 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. On Thursday, maximum and minimum temperature is expected to be around 21 and 7 degrees Celsius respectively. In the coming days, the Met officials said that the night temperatures would drop below five degrees Celsius.


Cloud Precipitation

US: Northwest storms bring heavy rain, strong winds through Christmas; blanket interior West with snow

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As the train of storms from the Pacific Ocean continues, rounds of rain and mountain snow will fall on areas from the Northwest to the Intermountain West and Rockies through Christmas Day.

A strong storm will affect the Northwest this weekend with gusty winds, heavy low-elevation rain and high-elevation snow.

A second storm will roll ashore on Tuesday with falling snow levels in the Northwest and heavy snow farther inland in the West.

Northwest Storm to Unleash Heavy Rain, Strong Winds This Weekend

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada, "The worst conditions this weekend will hit from the Cascades to the Pacific coast."

A general 4-8 inches (100 to 200 mm) of rain will fall from the upper Oregon coast to Washington's Olympic Peninsula and the southwestern part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

A general 2-4 inches of rain are forecast along Interstate 5, from Eugene and Portland, Oregon, to Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. Similar rainfall with locally higher amounts are possible along the west-facing slopes of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington.

Enough rain will fall to raise the risk of mudslides and flash and urban flooding. Small stream flooding is possible due to melting snow and heavy rain on the intermediate elevations of the Cascades.

Gusty winds will accompany the heavy rain, raising the potential for flight delays and localized power outages.

Comment: Superbomb winter storm predicted for Northeastern U.S. at Christmas


Igloo

'Ice pancakes' pictured floating on River Dee

Dinner plate-sized discs made out of frozen foam have been pictured on the river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Ice pancakes
© HEMEDIA
Ice pancakes recently found at Lummels Pool, near Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.
"Ice pancakes" made out of frozen foam have been forming on the River Dee in Aberdeenshire.

The discs, which are roughly the size of dinner plates, were photographed on the Scottish river at Lummels Pool, in Birse.

They are thought to have been formed overnight, when temperatures fall to below freezing, before they rub and bump together to make a roughly circular shape, as temperatures rise during the day.

The phenomenon can happen on rivers or the open sea, but is more usually spotted in the Antarctic, according to experts from the River Dee Trust who made the discovery.

Comment: The BBC host thinks this is a good sight to see. But why are we observing a common Antarctic phenomenon in the UK?


Snowflake

Superbomb winter storm predicted for Northeastern U.S. at Christmas

A "superbomb" storm is being predicted for Christmas Day in the Northeast United states according to WeatherBell Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue who has pointed out it looks to be reminiscent of the Cleveland Superbomb of 1978 aka the "Great New England Blizzard of 1978″.

This GFS forecast model for Christmas Day shows the depth of the low, poised to gather moisture from the Great Lakes and dump it into the Northeastern U.S. over the next 24-48 hours, potentially making Christmas and post-Christmas travel a nightmare, but ... there is a twist.
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Dr. Maue adds on his Twitter feed:
Exciting to see extreme weather forecasts with an item that requires dusting off the record books. 958 mb low
For reference, a 958 millibar low pressure system is as low as the central pressure for some tropical storms and nearly that of some hurricanes. For example Hurricane Sandy had a central pressure of 940 mbar or 27.76 inHg.

Comment:

UK weather bomb' brings hundreds of lightning strikes,and power outage to 17,000 homes


Ice Cube

Since October, Arctic sea ice extent remains at 10-year high

Since the end of October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at a 10 year high almost every day.
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Total sea ice extent on the northern hemisphere since 2005. The ice extent values are calculated from the ice type data from the Ocean and Sea Ice, Satellite Application Facility (OSISAF), where areas with ice concentration higher than 30% are classified as ice.

The total area of sea ice is the sum of First Year Ice (FYI), Multi Year Ice (MYI) and the area of ambiguous ice types, from the OSISAF ice type product. However, the total estimated ice area is underestimated due to unclassified coastal regions where mixed land/sea pixels confuse the applied ice type algorithm. The shown sea ice extent values are therefore recommended be used qualitatively in relation to ice extent values from other years shown in the figure. In late 2012 sea ice climatology and anomaly data will be available here.

COI | Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

Comment: Oops! The Arctic sea ice is holding up to global warming better than anyone expected.

Ice age cometh: No warming left to deny... Global cooling takes over... CET annual mean temperature plunges 1°C since 2000


Snowflake

Heavy snow in Japan causes power blackouts and stranded train passengers

heavy snow japan
Over 1,300 passengers spent the night trapped in trains stranded due to power blackouts caused by heavy snowfalls in Japan's northern Niigata Prefecture.

Some 1,350 passengers found themselves spending the night on trains stranded in Japan's northern Niigata Prefecture on Sunday, according to The Japan Times.

The trains were stranded by a power outage resulting from heavy snowstorms.

Comment: Temperatures have been declining for the past 16 years and it looks like that is going to continue, so we will probably be seeing much more of the above scenarios.

30 leading scientists predict global cooling


Snowflake Cold

30 leading scientists predict global cooling

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The Earth is about to begin a steep drop in global temperatures off its present global temperature plateau. This plateau has been caused by the absence of growth in global temperatures for 18 years, the start of global cooling in the atmosphere and the oceans, and the end of a short period of moderate solar heating from an unusually active secondary peak in solar cycle #24.

Average global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures will drop significantly beginning between 2015 and 2016 and will continue with only temporary reversals until they stabilize during a long cold temperature base lasting most of the 2030's and 2040's. The bottom of the next global cold climate caused by a "solar hibernation" (a pronounced reduction in warming energy coming from the Sun) is expected to be reached by the year 2031.

The predicted temperature decline will continue for the next fifteen years and will likely be the steepest ever recorded in human history, discounting past short-duration volcanic events.

Global average temperatures during the 2030's will reach a level of at least 1.5° C lower.


Comment: See also: The Little Ice Age predicted to start in 2014

Last Ice Age took just SIX months to arrive

Ice Ages start and end so suddenly, "it's like a button was pressed," say scientists