climate change

Deep Freeze in Alaska

Desert Gypsy's picture

Wunderground-4/14/13, Christopher C. Burt



April has so far been one of the coldest such on record for Fairbanks, Alaska as we near the month’s halfway point (UPDATE: See comments section). Cold and snow have dominated the weather across the state recently.

As of April 14th the temperature has averaged just 9.7°F (-12.4°C) in Fairbanks which is 16.7°F (9.3°C) below normal and about what it should be in early March. The coldest temperature so far this month was -21°F (-29.4°C) on April 11th, a far cry from the city’s all-time April low of -32°F (-35.6°C) set on April 4, 1944 but the cold has been exceptionally persistent.


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March 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary

Desert Gypsy's picture, Christopher C. Burt



March was notable for unseasonable cold weather in Europe and record heat in parts of Africa and Australia. Heavy snowstorms struck the U.K., northern France, eastern Europe, Russia and the central U.S. and northeast. The world temperature extremes for both cold and heat came within 0.5°C (0.9°F) of reaching their respective March all-time records (from -75.6°C/-104.1°F) in Antarctica to South Africa (47.3°C/117.2°F).

Below are some of the month’s highlights.


Several significant snowstorms impacted the central and eastern portions of the U.S. during March. A slow moving and large low-pressure system raked the east coast on March 6-8 bringing high winds and a flooding storm surge to coastal Massachusetts. Wind gusts of 40 mph+ persisted for three consecutive days on Nantucket Island while heavy snow fell inland with a top accumulation of 29.8” (75.7 cm) storm total measured at Walpole. On March 24-25 heavy snow buried St. Louis, Missouri with a 12.7” (32.3 cm) accumulation, the city’s 7th greatest snowstorm on record. A bit further east, Springfield, Illinois picked up 18.5” (47.7 cm), its all-time greatest snowfall since records for such were established there in 1881.


Scotland Wildfires Blacken Hundreds of Acres

Desert Gypsy's picture, Jim Andrews



Heathland fires have burned hundreds of acres in Scotland, following an unusually dry month of March.Crews were actively fighting wildfires near Fort William, in the northwest of Scotland, the U.K. Daily Mail website said on Monday.

Along with heath and grass, the flames have taken some trees, fenceposts and electrical poles.A plantation forest was under threat near Banavie, the Daily Mail said.


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Possible causes to the recent Decrease in the Warming Rate

Desert Gypsy's picture - 4/8/13



Dr. James Hansen, who has worked at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies for 46 years and was director since 1981, has announced his retirement. Hansen wants to spend more time to focus on science and make it clearer to the public.

Dr. Hansen along with Pushker Kharecha and Makiko Sato recently issued a commentary titled 'Doubling Down on our Faustian Bargain'. You can read it in its entirety right here.

Why does the rate of global warming seem to be less this decade compared to what it was during the prior 25 years?


New Images of the 2013 Arctic Sea Ice Mega-Fracture

Desert Gypsy's picture 3/29/13, Angela Fritz



Satellite image of the large fracture in Arctic sea ice in the Beaufort Sea (north of Alaska). Image from NASA, acquired February 23, 2013.

New images of 2013's Arctic sea ice mega-fracture have been posted on NASA's website. Sea ice fractures are not uncommon, though, according to NASA, the extent of this one is. Two things have combined this year to create the mega-fracture:

1) Arctic sea ice is not what it used to be. It is becoming thin and fragile, whereas thick, multi-year ice (ice that is around for many years and is much more stable) has declined. Arctic sea ice extent has plummeted since 1979, and reached an all-time low in September 2012. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, through 2013, February sea ice extent has declined at a rate of 2.9% per decade compared to the long-term average. This represents an overall reduction of more than 606,000 square miles from 1979 to 2013, which is equivalent to more than twice the area of the state of Texas. Scientific consensus points to global warming from fossil fuel emissions as the culprit of the Arctic's decline.


Killer Waves: How Tsunamis Changed Histor

Desert Gypsy's picture 4/1/13, Becky Oslin




In a jumbled layer of pebbles and shells called the "Dog's Breakfast deposit" lies evidence of a massive tsunami, one of two that transformed New Zealand's Maori people in the 15th century.

After the killer wave destroyed food resources and coastal settlements, sweeping societal changes emerged, including the building of fortified hill forts and a shift toward a warrior culture.


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