Extreme Temperatures


Last ice age ended 'very quickly'

© ANSTO Research Selections 2011View of the Prince Charles Mountain flanking the Lambert Glacier near Loewe Massif on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
A novel technique for dating the 'exposure age' of rocks is uncovering how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet responded to past climate change.

"We found two really unexpected results," said Duanne White, a geoscientist at the University of Canberra, who is part of a group of researchers using the new dating technique.

"Previously it had been thought that during the last Ice Age the Ice Sheet expanded all the way out to the continental shelf and was a thousand metres thicker at the margin. But we found quite the opposite - along the whole length of the Lambert Glacier, there was only a relatively small change.

"But the kicker for us was this happened very soon after global temperatures and sea level began to rise at the end of the last Ice Age. So while the response wasn't large at that particular time, it happened very quickly."

Comment: A Different Kind of Catastrophe - Something Wicked This Way Comes


Researchers find first hardy Irish plant that beat Ice Age

© TigerenteArenaria ciliata (Fringed Sandwort)
The history books will have to be rewritten after researchers uncovered a super resilient plant which survived the Ice Age in Ireland.

Up to now most scientists agreed that Ireland's flora and fauna emerged or came here after the end of the Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago.

However, this latest discovery by a research team from NUI Maynooth, pushes back this date to a much earlier time.

The team, led by ecologist Dr Conor Meade, developed a new DNA analysis method to unravel the complex history of the Fringed Sandwort, a rare cold-loving herb that only grows on the high slopes of Ben Bulben in Co Sligo.

Researchers collected the plant on mountain peaks all over Europe, from Spain and Italy up to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle, and then completed detailed genetic analyses.

The new analysis method, based on a process called DNA melting, greatly improves the accuracy of existing DNA analysis and helped to reveal previously unknown levels of genetic diversity in the Irish populations.


Global WARMING? Only Six Days of Summer in Stockholm this Year

"Summer weather was miserable - now there's proof," says this article out of Sweden.

According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), on only six days this summer did the temperature reach more than 25 degrees Celsius in Stockholm.

Last year, Stockholm had 28 days with summer weather, ie days with a minimum temperature of 25 degrees. This year, just six days met this definition - 4 days in July and two in August. Recent summers have not even come close to having as few summer days.

Gothenburg had only five summer days this year. Malmo had nine, about as few as last year.


After 32,000 Years, an Ice Age Flower Blooms Again

© AP/Institute of Biophysics of the Russian Academy of SciencesThis campion plant grew from a 32,000-year-old fruit.
Deep in the frozen tundra of northeastern Siberia, a squirrel buried fruits some 32,000 years ago from a plant that bore white flowers. This winter a team of Russian scientists announced that they had unearthed the fruit and brought tissue from it back to life. The fruits are about 30,000 years older than the Israeli date palm seed that previously held the record as the oldest tissue to give life to healthy plants.

The researchers were studying ancient soil composition in an exposed Siberian riverbank in 1995 when they discovered the first of 70 fossilized Ice Age squirrel burrows, some of which stored up to 800,000 seeds and fruits. Permafrost had preserved tissue from one species - a narrow-leafed campion plant - exceptionally well, so researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences recently decided to culture the cells to see if they would grow. Team leader Svetlana Yashina re-created Siberian conditions in the lab and watched as the refrigerated tissue sprouted buds that developed into 36 flowering plants within weeks.

This summer Yashina's team plans to revisit the tundra to search for even older burrows and seeds.


US record low temperatures outpace record highs 127 to 4 this weekend

Since we were treated to scads of news articles by the MSM on how many record highs happened in July, it seems only fair that we report on the multitude of record lows that occurred this weekend in the USA, and I doubt we'll see the sort of coverage the highs got. A number of these record lows go back into the past 100 years or more.
Here's a map for the weekend:
US low temps map
Click here for interactive source data


Australia's Coldest August Night on Record

A blast of polar air from a cold-front in southern Australia last week managed to push all the way up to the tropics. Darwin shivered through it's coldest August night on record Monday after the temperature dropped to just 13.1C Monday, more than seven degrees below the August average minimum of 20.4C.


Ice Age Cometh? Big Snow Forecast For Eastern U.S. Cities

After a 2011-2012 winter that saw little snow, the mid-Atlantic and southern New England states will get a snow dump this winter, forecasters say. Above-normal snowfall during winter 2012-2013 is forecast for the major I-95 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, AccuWeather.com reported Wednesday.

"The I-95 cities could get hit pretty good," forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "It's a matter of getting the cold to phase in with the huge systems that we are going to see coming out of the southern branch of the jet stream this year."


Little Ice Age Thermometers- Historic Variations in Temperatures Confirms Extended Period of Warming Before Rapid Cooling

This short paper is a preliminary examination of BEST data to 1753, as compared to the Central England Temperature Record (CET) to 1660 (instrumental record) and 1538 (Extended by Tony Brown using thousands of contemporary observations).

CET extended and BEST temp graph
This extension to 1538 was a central part of my article 'The Long Slow Thaw,' which also examined historic temperature reconstructions by Dr Michael Mann and Hubert Lamb.

In the article, warming from the start of the CET instrumental record in 1660 to the present day was noted, albeit with numerous advances and reverses.

The extended CET record coincides well with a 2000 year reconstruction by Craig Loehle here.

And one by M. V. SHABALOVA and A. F. V. VAN ENGELEN : 'Evaluation of a reconstruction of winter and summer temperatures in the Low Countries, ad 764 - 1998' here.

According to studies made by a number of climate scientists, CET is a reasonable proxy for Northern Hemisphere -and to some extent global temperatures- as documented in 'The Long Slow Thaw'. However, as Hubert Lamb observed, it can 'show us the tendency but not the precision'. In that light there are a number of comments that can be made about the Combined CET/BEST graph which are shown above in two versions that, viewed together, provide the opportunity to follow the ups and down of the ever changing climate over the 350 years of instrumental records.

(Note; The BEST extension to 1538 and the extension to both trend lines after 2012 in the first graphic are merely a graphing feature.)


Ice Age Cometh! Rare snowfall stuns residents of Johannesburg, South Africa: first time in history all 9 provinces get same day snow

Not normal: people in South Africa couldn't believe their eyes as record snowfall fell across the whole country.
August 9, 2012 - Johannesburg, South Africa - People slowly came outside despite the cold wind Tuesday across South Africa, pointed their mobile phone cameras to the sky and opened their mouths to taste a rare snowfall that fell on much of the country. The snow began Tuesday morning, part of an extreme cold snap now biting into a nation still in its winter months. By mid-afternoon, officials recorded snowfall across most of South Africa. However, forecasters acknowledged snow remains so unusual that they typically aren't prepared to provide details about snowfall in the nation. The snow closed some roads and at least one high-altitude pass. The snowfall also closed several border posts in the country. As the snow fell, workers at offices in Johannesburg rushed outside. Some twirled and danced as the flakes fell. One man rushed to the top of a snow-covered hill and slid down, using a cardboard box as an improvised toboggan. Despite the cold and the snow, beggars who line traffic lights in the city continued to ask passing motorists for cash. The snow grew heavier in the afternoon in Johannesburg, covering rooftops and slicking roads. Snowflakes are a rare commodity in Johannesburg, even during winter. South African Weather Service records show it has snowed in Johannesburg on only 22 other days in the last 103 years. The last snow fell there in June 2007. In Pretoria, the country's capital, flurries filled the sky during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was the first snowfall there since 1968, the weather service said. The cold weather is expected to last a few days. - Huffington Post


First Time Ever in South Africa: Snow in All 9 Provinces

JoBurg Snow
© News24Much of SA is covered in a blanket of snow as the latest cold front sinks its teeth into the country. Share your snow photos with us.
Johannesburg - It is probably the first time ever that snow has fallen in all nine of South Africa's provinces on the same day.

Kenosi Machepa from the SA Weather Service said this when referring to the vast cold front that brought snow to Pretoria for the first time since the late 1960s, reported Beeld.

In the Western Cape, snow fell on mountains in the Boland as well as in towns like Richmond and Touws River while snow was lying thick on the Matroosberg in Ceres.

In Johannesburg, snow was lying up to 20cm deep in some areas while Golden Gate in the Free State got the most snow in six years.

In Bethlehem, snow was up to 70cm deep and schools were closed due to the weather. There was also snow in Mpumalanga and Limpopo while light snow fell in the North West.

The weather office said the cold would continue for another day or two.