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Extreme Temperatures

Ice Cube

Death toll of waterbirds on frozen Lake Erie likely to number tens of thousands

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© WKYC
Red breasted mergansers and coot on Lake Erie.

The Great Lakes are the winter home to millions of sea birds and waterfowl that need open water to survive. The frigid weather of the past few months left 92 percent of the lakes covered in ice, and that left diver ducks out in the cold.

Jen Brumfield, a naturalist for the Cleveland Metroparks explains, "With the freeze-over, all of these birds are piling into very, very small, open-water outlets where they become stressed. There is limited food for them there, so they starve and die."

The death toll on Lake Erie could run in the tens of thousands.

As the frozen lake thaws, carcasses of the deceased ducks are washing up along the shore by the hundreds. The waterfowl are mostly diver ducks, like greater and lesser scaup, redheads, canvasbacks, and red-breasted mergansers.

Ice Cube

10 Fold increase in the number of dying water birds rescued in Toronto due to extreme cold

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© Torstar News Service
Calls about dead birds to Toronto Animal Services went up 66 per cent between Jan. 1 and Mar. 12, compared to the same period last year.
Toronto's ducks and geese are among the hardest-hit victims of this year's brutal winter weather.

Calls about dead birds - found stuck in the ice or floating lifeless in the water - shot up 66 per cent between Jan. 1 and Mar. 12 compared to the same period last year, according to Toronto Animal Services.

Meanwhile, the city's only wildlife rescue charity has been overwhelmed with dozens of fragile, injured and dying birds, making this the worst winter it has seen in 21 years of operation.

"They're weak and they're starving," said Nathalie Karvonen, executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre. "Some of the birds are having traumatic injuries as well because they're in a weakened state."

The centre has rescued about 10 times as many water birds as it does during a normal winter, more than 130 since December. Admissions of wildlife are up 50 per cent overall, said Karvonen.

Many water birds spend the winter on Georgian Bay, which has frozen solid for the first time in 20 years. The mass migration led to an intense food competition this year, as thousands of fish-eating birds compete for a few small pools of water.

Ice Cube

Pod of over 30 dolphins die after being trapped by ice, Cape Ray, Newfoundland

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Dolphins stuck in ice
Most of a pod of white-beaked dolphins have already succumbed after becoming trapped by ice off the southwest coast. The pod of about 30 to 40 dophins became encircled by ice near Cape Ray on the weekend and were driven close to the shoreline. The animals' plight has caught the attention of local residents, but officials say there's little that can be done because of the dangerous weather and ice conditions.

As of this morning just three animals were left alive, and they were in bad shape. Wayne Ledwell of the Whale Release and Strandings Group says human safety is paramount when considering whether or not to save the animals. He says conditions in the area are so bad, people would be risking their lives to try to intervene.

Ledwell says white-beaked dolphins are one of a couple of species that stay in Newfoundland waters year-round, and ice strandings are not uncommon. He says in many cases the animals usually die, but he can remember saving some animals in an area where it was safe to do so, and transporting them to open water via snowmobile.

Cloud Precipitation

Not done yet: another snowstorm set to sweep from St. Louis to DC

Spring officially starts on Thursday, but Mother Nature will bring another blast of winter weather from Missouri to Delaware before the seasons change.

A winter full of nasty snow and ice will not end quietly as a gathering storm slides east and collides with a fresh cold air mass on Sunday into Monday.

Across the South, the focus will be on severe weather. Farther north, a wintry mess will quickly unfold into Monday.

As yet another push of cold air drives southward across the Midwest and Great Lakes, moisture will surge northward. A swath of snow and sleet is expected to develop from Missouri eastward along the Ohio River on Sunday.

While the precipitation may start as a brief period of rain, the arrival of cold air should allow the majority of the precipitation to fall as snow or sleet in cities such as Springfield and St. Louis, Mo., Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio.
snowstorm march 2014
© AccuWeather.com
East of the Appalachians, the most treacherous conditions are expected on Sunday night through the morning commute on Monday as temperatures fall below freezing.

Snow and ice should extend along the Ohio River and then across the Mason-Dixon Line by Monday morning and even reach places as far south as the North Carolina/Virginia border.

Most places in this band can expect enough snow to shovel with some spots in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia picking up around a half foot of fresh snow.

Since much of the snow is forecast to fall at night in locations such as Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and Charleston, W.Va., roads can quickly become slick and snow covered. Conditions for Monday morning's commute will be poor.

Snowflake Cold

U.S. having its coldest six month period since 1912

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© Steven Goddard
(To date, October-March temperatures are the coldest since 1899 - but they will rise some before the end of the month - and may pass 1912.)

Snowflake Cold

Mass duck deaths in western New York state due to cold harsh winter

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"This duck die-off has been unprecedented. Biologists who've been here for 35 years have never seen anything like this," says Wildlife Biologist Connie Adams of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Western New York region is bearing witness to a quiet but devastating ecological disaster. The harsh and seemingly endless winter has been the root cause of death for thousands of ducks, from Rochester to the Niagara River.

Adams says, "This has never been documented in the past. ... As cold as people believe the winter has been, it has in fact been that cold because it's verified by the fact that this abundant wildlife population cannot survive... this winter."
The massive die-off first was noticed by local birders in mid-January. Adams tells 2 The Outdoors that when the NYDEC went out to investigate the situation had already reached a serious stage.

Ice Cube

Frequent floods in the European Alps coincide with cooler periods of the past 2500 years

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Floods of the European Alps

Background

The authors write that "severe floods triggered by intense precipitation are among the most destructive natural hazards in Alpine environments, frequently causing large financial and social damage," and they say that "potential enhanced flood occurrence due to global climate change would thus increase threats to settlements, infrastructure, and human lives in the affected regions." However, they note that, currently, "projections of intense precipitation exhibit major uncertainties" and that "robust reconstructions of Alpine floods are limited to the instrumental and historical period," giving one reason to question whether global warming would lead to such a consequence.

What was done

In a study designed to reduce these uncertainties and extend reconstructions back in time beyond the instrumental period, Glur et al. developed "a multi-archive Alpine flood reconstruction based on ten lacustrine sediment records, covering the past 2500 years." More specifically, they studied ten lakes situated north of the Central Alpine arc along a montane-to-Alpine transect, spanning an elevation gradient from 447 to 2068 m asl," which allowed "the extraction of a synoptic, rather than a merely local rainfall signal revealed by a single-lake study." And to verify their approach to the subject, they compared the last 500 years of their Central Alpine flood reconstruction with an independently established flood record for that period that was based on historical documents, as developed and described by Schmocker-Fackel and Naef (2010).

What was learned

"Regarding the best-characterized climatic periods during the past 2500 years," the eight researchers report that "flood activity was generally enhanced during the Little Ice Age (1430-1850 C.E.; LIA) compared to the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250 C.E.; MCA)." And they say that "this result is confirmed by other studies documenting an increased (decreased) flood activity during the LIA (MCA) in the Alps," citing the studies of Schmocker-Fackel and Naef (2010), Czymzik et al. (2010), Wilhelm et al. (2012) and Swierczynski et al. (2012).


Galaxy

Heaven and Earth: Unusual natural events and strange phenomena from around the world in February/March 2014

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© Martin Rietze/National
This video compiles footages of strange phenomena of all kinds, including awesome natural events or beautiful phenomena from around the world in the last few weeks. Just a small sample of what we've seen already this year!

In the past month or so we have seen: Unusual solar activity including an X class flare - Aurora Borealis much further south than usual, including southern UK - Huge waves off coast of California, Brazil, UK - England battered by record storms, floods and sinkholes - Severe drought in California, followed by extreme storms and floods - US cities in the East frozen still - Strange skies over Europe - Ecuador Tungurahua volcano erupts - Strange 'hailstone' falls over Nevada - Weird pulsating orange Earth phenomena melts ice and boils water - Amazing sinkhole in the Corvette Museum - New York sinkhole swallows car - Popocatelpetl Volcano, Mexico eruptions - Sakurajima, Japan spectacular volcanic eruption - Large fireball over Maine, USA - Huge eruption from Volcano Pacaya in Guatemala

Cloud Grey

ABC, CBS exclude comments from scientists critical of global warming for more than 1,300 Days‏

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Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.

In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC's lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.

Comment: When the mainstream media has to work so hard to bolster one side of a debate, while suppressing the other side, it's clear that we are facing a propaganda operation and that the truth is being purposely hidden.


Ice Cube

Great Lakes Snow, ice cover may cause flooding

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This image, provided by NASA, shows the ice covering the Great Lakes. Scientists worry the ice could complicate the coming spring.
Like a boxer who knocked his rival to the mat and who then gets down on his knees to keep pummeling the poor guy, the wicked winter of 2014 may not be done with us yet.

Federal officials Wednesday marveled at the size of the ice sheet that as of this week covered 91 percent of the Great Lakes. That ice cover could produce problems long into the spring.

A fast melt could produce ice jams in rivers and streams that in turn cause flooding, said George A. Leshkevich, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

And even if that doesn't happen, Leshkevich said, this winter's deep freeze could make the spring colder than usual, as winds whipping off the frozen lakes continue to chill communities just when it's supposed to be getting warmer.

Leshkevich and Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, joined reporters on a conference call Wednesday to discuss the effect all the snow, ice and cold might have on lake levels.