Extreme Temperatures


Solar Cycle #24: On track to be the weakest in 100 years

© Hathaway/NASA/MSFCProjected vs observed sunspot numbers for solar cycles #23 & #24.
Our nearest star has exhibited some schizophrenic behavior thus far for 2013.

By all rights, we should be in the throes of a solar maximum, an 11-year peak where the Sun is at its most active and dappled with sunspots.

Thus far though, Solar Cycle #24 has been off to a sputtering start, and researchers that attended the meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Physics Division earlier this month are divided as to why."Not only is this the smallest cycle we've seen in the space age, it's the smallest cycle in 100 years," NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center research scientist David Hathaway said during a recent press teleconference conducted by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Cycle #23 gave way to a profound minimum that saw a spotless Sol on 260 out of 365 days (71%!) in 2009. Then, #Cycle 24 got off to a late start, about a full year overdue - we should have seen a solar maximum in 2012, and now that's on track for the late 2013 to early 2014 time frame. For solar observers, both amateur, professional and automated, its seems as if the Sun exhibits a "split-personality" this year, displaying its active Cycle #24-self one week, only to sink back into a blank despondency the next.


Germany hailstorm: Wassel hit by giant hailstones

A severe hailstorm hit German village of Wassel in Sehnte Saturday evening.

German hailstones were the size of tennis balls. Hailstones damaged roofs, windows and several vehicles, local medias reported.

The most catastrophic hailstorm in Europe struck Munich, Germany on July 12, 1984. Germany hailstorm damaged some 70,000 homes and injured 400 people. Germany hailstorm damage was estimated at over US$2 billion.

Below is a raw you tube video of German hailstorm by Associated Press.


Best of the Web: UK National Farmers' Union president: Extreme weather threatens to wipe out British farming - how is UK to feed itself?

From this...
Extreme weather being driven by climate change is the biggest threat to British farming and its ability to feed the nation's growing population, according to Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union.

His comments, in an interview with the Guardian, come after a week of intense weather extremes. Last Monday, west London experienced the hottest day for seven years, while on Tuesday the drought in many parts of the country came to an end with intense thunderstorms that brought almost a month of rain in a day to parts of Worcestershire. Torrential downpours also put a dampener on the first weekend of the school summer holidays, with flash-flooding in parts of the south-east and the Midlands.

"The biggest uncertainty for UK agriculture is extreme weather events," said Kendall, who grows wheat and barley on the 250-hectare (620 acre) farm in Bedfordshire he runs with his brother. "I sometimes have a pop at those who say climate change is going to help farming in northern Europe.

Comment: See also: Rising food prices, climate change and global 'unrest'

Arrow Down

Scotland's sea birds in big decline after hard winter

© Kaleel Zibe (rspb-images.com)Guillemots have declined by 46%
Scotland's seabirds continue to struggle

The coldest spring in more than 50 years has taken a toll on Scotland's seabirds as early monitoring shows adult birds have arrived late for the breeding season and in poor condition.

Harsh winter

Harsh weather conditions earlier this year have added to the considerable long-term challenges seabirds face including lack of food due to the impact of climate change on the marine food chain, and poor management of human activities in the marine environment.

Kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills

Colony counts on RSPB Scotland reserves across the country from the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland to the Firth of Clyde, reveal a similar picture with species like kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills showing some of the steepest declines in number of birds present.


Brazil's 'largest snow in decades': Snow in over 80 cities, roads and schools closed

The mass of polar air that passed through Argentina before coming to Brazil at the end of last week dropped snow in at least 87 cities of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

The cold wave, which reaches South, Southeast, Midwest, and up to two northern states of the country (Rondônia and Acre), is the longest in 13 years, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet).

"Should greatly disrupt agriculture"

"There were 17 days in all. Now, there are already seven days with temperatures below zero, and certainly this will continue until Friday, which should greatly disrupt agriculture, especially citrus plantations and lettuce, and bring problems health," says meteorologist Lucia Gularte of Inmet.

Among the places hit by the snow are two capitals: Curitiba and Florianópolis. In Curitiba, the record snow made on Tuesday by Simepar Meteorological Institute is the first since 1975.


Chile experiences coldest day of 2013

© Ashoka Jegroo / The Santiago TimesSantiago recorded its coldest day of the year Monday morning.
Record low temperatures hit Chile with many parts of Santiago experiencing temperatures below freezing Monday as fresh snow falls in the Andes.

Santiago and other cities were affected by record low temperatures during the past few days, with some areas reaching as low as 16.8 F (-8.4 C) Monday.

The south central area of Chile faced the coldest temperatures of the year on Monday with below-freezing temperatures expected to continue until Tuesday, according to the Chilean Meteorological Office (DMC).

Chilean students received a cold welcome back from their winter vacation as Santiago's lowest temperature of the year came in at 26.6 F (-3 C) in Quinta Normal at 6:56 a.m. Monday morning. Santiago saw a high of 55.4 F (13 C). Just outside of the capital, Lampa claimed the country's record low temperature of the year with shivering lows of 16.8 F (-8.4 C). Calera de Tango in the Valparaíso Region clocked in with a low of 25.5 F (-3.6 C).


Cold snap leaves six dead across Argentina

Snpw in Argentina
© Buenos Aires HeraldMendoza province experienced heavy snowfall as a consequence of the intense cold.
Recent polar temperatures that for the last five days have affected almost all of Argentina have left a tragic outcome: at least six people have died as a consequence of the cold in various parts of the country.

In Catamarca province, a 51-year-old man died of a heart attack caused by hypothermia, in his Altos de Choya home. In the Parque Norte Oeste district of Catamarca, meanwhile, a 19-year-old disabled youth also lost his life.

In the early hours of Monday morning Jose Romera, a homeless man aged 47, was discovered in the streets of Andresito, Misiones, and was pronounced dead also due to hypothermia.

In Salta, meanwhile, a three-year-old boy was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, a consequence of fumes from a heater which had been turned on to combat the intense cold.

Early morning temperatures in Buenos Aires dropped as low as 1.6°C, before rising to 10° in the afternoon. Similar numbers are forecast for Wednesday, before the rest of the week sees a slight increase in temperature.

In parts of Jujuy and Mendoza provinces, meanwhile, locals suffered with temperatures of up to -10°C.

Snow Globe

NOAA - "Extraordinary" cold and large snowfall forecast for southern Brazil

"Our team had never seen so incisive cold weather to our region, nor the cold waves more intense in recent years."

NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmosphere) describes the cold wave that will reach the Southern Cone of America and Rio Grande do Sul as "extraordinary."

MetSul Meteorology analysis says that the wave will bring polar temperature to atypical locations as far north as northern Bolivia and southern Peru as well as the Midwest of Brazil, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

According to NOAA, the flow of moisture from the sea will bring snow to coastal areas of Patagonia to southern Brazil, including the province of Buenos Aires and also in Uruguay.

The report adds that heavy snow will hit much of Patagonia, reaching Viedma and Bahia Blanca with accumulated 10-15 centimeters. Should snowing, says NOAA, mostly in the province of Buenos Aires. In the area of ​​the River Plate and the southeastern Uruguay can be expected bumps of snow and snow mixed with rain (water nieve).


Cold snap puts wildfires on ice in Alaska

The cool weather that struck northeast British Columbia last week likely didn't please most Peace Region residents who saw July snow around Wonowon and Pink Mountain on Thursday, but fire crews managing wildfires in the northeast corner of the province were certainly happy with the low temperatures and precipitation.

An information bulletin issued by the Prince George Fire Centre on Friday, July 12 stated the inclement weather had allowed the Wildfire Management Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) to wrap up their response to several of the wildfires in the region, reducing the number of active fires in the Prince George Fire Centre to just four.

Last week saw 16 new, small wildfires in the region, but the Fire Centre noted they didn't pose any risk to structures.

Just one of those fires was the result of human activities.

"We have had 123 fires and burned 2,136 hectares so far this year," said Dustin Eno, a fire information officer with the Prince George Fire Centre.

The majority of that activity has been in the Fort Nelson Zone.

"Last year at this time we had had 137 fires and burned 7,467 hectares," he added.

Snow Globe

Sunspots and the great cooling ahead

Presumably, even among the ill-informed ideologues at the White House, there are a few who have heard of sunspots. There may even be one who knows, as most informed persons do, of the correlation between sunspot activity and the earth's climate. But apparently no one has bothered to inform the president.

When sunspot activity is high, as it was during the 1990s and early 2000s, temperatures tend to be high as well. When it is low, as it is now, temperatures fall. And because sunspot activity occurs in decades-long cycles, the unusually cold winter and spring of 2012 may be just the beginning. As a Barron's article recently noted, current sunspot activity is now the least it has been in a century.

What this means is that the era of global cooling has begun. In the northern hemisphere, three out of the four last winters and springs have been unusually cold. This spring was so cold in East Asia that China was forced to import millions of tons of grain and soybeans from the U.S. and other suppliers.