Real News Stories To Share With Global-Warming SkepticsEUROPE:
On the whole, western Europe was mild in February, but on Tuesday, February 19th, temperatures in the UK dropped
to below freezing, so eight Football League games were postponed. Some clubs made efforts to thaw out the frozen turf by using gas heaters, but the matches were called off anyway.
Also in the UK, it got too cold
for some biodiesel buses. It appears that some Norfolk buses would not start because of frozen fuel. 'First Eastern Counties' apologised to customers when 11 buses were out of action because of the problem. The bus line wants to go "green" but reverted to standard diesel to maintain service. One of the drawbacks of biodiesel is that it has a higher freezing point than mineral diesel.
On February 26th, world oil prices surged
to record closes based in part on the weak US dollar, and in part on "strong heating fuel demand in Europe and the United States in the midst of a cold spell." The price rise "was led by heating fuels as cold weather hit parts of Europe and seasonal temperatures lingered over the northern U.S. states."INDIA:
Temperatures moderated in New Dehli, according to a report
from 'Daily News & Analysis'. However, temperatures in Kashmir became colder. The town of Srinagar fell to -2.3 C. Pahalgam and Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded lows of -4.8 and -2 degrees C on February 18th. The cold continued unabated
through February 26th, when Pahalgam in south Kashmir was the coldest place in the valley with mercury touching a low of minus -8.3 degrees C.ISRAEL:
For the third time this year, Israelis and Palestinians had to cope with winter storms
. An unusually harsh winter has brought snow, heavy winds and freezing rain. Snow plows deployed in Jerusalem, and officials in several school districts around the country either cancelled or delayed classes on February 19th. Meteorologists said the current winter is the worst in 15 years, but not as bad as the winter of 1991-92, when it snowed 10 times in Jerusalem.
Snowy 1967 War Memorial (Sherman tank).SAUDI ARABIA:
Freezing weather again hit Saudi Arabia in February RIA Novosti reported
. This winter is said to be the coldest in Saudi Arabia in 30 years. Temperatures in northern and northwestern parts of the country plunged to -5 degrees Centigrade (23 Fahrenheit) with bitterly cold winds raging at speeds of 60 km/ph (37 m/ph). Local residents are staying indoors whenever possible amid fears of hypothermia.CHINA:
Winter storms that began in mid-January, continued to plague the country, an article
at Xinhua said. As of mid-February, the extreme weather left 107 people dead and 8 missing, at a cost of about 111.1 billion yuan (15.4 billion USD). Twenty-one provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities had been affected. About 1.5 million people had been relocated, and 1.93 million people were left stranded before finding transport. The winter weather affected almost 24.4 million hectares (60 million acres) of farmland and 18.6 million hectares (46 million acres) of forests, and led to the collapse of about 354,000 houses. China's Ministry of Finance had spent 2.7 billion yuan (375 million U.S. dollars) over the one month period on relief for areas affected by the severe winter weather and had allocated another 6.3 billion yuan.
Icy roads in Guangdong allow only military vehicles.
that about 11.87 million hectares (29.33 million acres) of crops in China had been damaged by low temperatures or freezing weather in 20 provinces, as of February 14th according to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). About 5.85 million hectares (14.5 million acres) of crops were (severely?)
affected, and about 1.76 million hectares (4.3 million acres) of crops would expect no yields at all this year.
Snow in southern China - Chenzhou, Hunan.
Between February 21 and 23, blizzards
raged in the Ili River Valley in the far western region. About 12,000 cattle were killed, causing losses of 18 million yuan (2.52 million USD). The heavy snow and wintry weather sharply increased fatalities among ewes and lambs, as it is the breeding season. During the 3-day period, at least 10,830 sheep, 848 oxen, 240 horses and 90 pigs had been killed. Since December 69,700 cattle had died in Ili. In Ehen Hudag, water supply was suspended to 2,169 families because pipelines burst in the extremely cold weather. Water supply was not expected to resume until May.
By February 23rd, the death toll had climbed to 129 according to Civil Affairs Vice Minister Li Liguo in remarks
carried by the official Xinhua News Agency, while four others remained missing. By February 24th, Xinhua was reporting
that the snow had destroyed 485,000 houses, and an estimated 1.66 million people were living in temporary shelters.
Snow in Shenyang China - Feb 25.
Near Hong Kong, according to Media Newswire
, local pond fish farmers suffered fish losses caused by the cold weather, and were told they could register with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) for grants from the Emergency Relief Fund.
On February 26th, Xinhua was reporting
another blast of cold air accompanied by snow and sleet storms. Eight people were killed in a bus accident caused by the weather near Wuhan. In Qingdao, in the eastern province of Shandong, snow forced several expressways to close. In southwest China's Yunnan, which is known for its mild weather, residents were being warned of a heavy snowfall in the coming days. In some areas in Yunnan, continuous sleet disrupted the repair of the damaged telecommunication infrastructure. More than 1.1 million phone and Internet subscribers were affected. In southwestern Guizhou, ice and snow caused massive damage to dozens of cultural heritage sites. Fish losses were reported to be at 410,000 tons.VIETNAM:
'VietNamNet Bridge' announced
that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung requested ministries, branches and localities to take drastic measures to mitigate impacts of the prolonged cold spell, focusing on preventing epidemics and hunger. At a meeting of the government in Ha Noi on February 15th regarding the prolonged cold spell in the northern region, the PM gave credit to ministries, branches and localities for their timely response to the cold wave, including the supplying of rice seeds to farmers and the decision to let children stay at home on the coldest days.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, northern provinces have planted rice on more than 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) for the winter-spring crop but about 104,000 hectares (256,000 acres) or 40 percent of the area has been damaged by the cold weather. As of February 15th, the cold spell had killed nearly 30,644 cattle. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the government to provide nearly 149 billion VND (9.3 million USD) to buy rice seed and breeding cattle for affected localities. Another 1.6 billion VND (100,000 USD) has been allocated to help 21 northern and central provinces to overcome the consequences of the on-going cold snap.
As of February 26th, Ha Noi was reporting
that the cold spell had still not run its course and was expected to last until March 2 or 3. The record winter had killed nearly 60,000 cattle, up from the 30,644 announced on February 15th. In a related article, it was noted that trees in the capital massively shed their leaves in the last few days because of the weather.USA:
In Minnesota, the temperature in International Falls fell to a record 40 below zero
Fahrenheit on February 11, ironically just a few days after the northern Minnesota town won a federal trademark making it officially the "Icebox of the Nation." The previous record low for Feb 11 in International Falls was 37 below, set in 1967. The temperature also fell to 40 below in Embarrass, 80 miles southeast of International Falls. That's just one degree above the all-time record in Minneapolis, 250 miles to the south, that was set in January 1888, the weather service said.
The StarTribune said
on February 20th that "extreme cold" had gripped the state for most of the past month. At 7 a.m. that day, the warm spot was -4 F at Winona and the cold spot was Thief River Falls at -33 degrees F. Windchill values were running at anywhere from -20 to -48 degrees F. For the Twin Cities, the day's high was expected to be -1 F, but by Saturday, February 22nd, the temperature was expected to hit a balmy 32 degrees F.
In Greenbay, Wisconsin, it was reported
that as of Sunday, February 17th, 18.1 inches of snow had fallen for the month - more than 12 inches above normal for the period. Another 2.3 inches fell on Monday, and more snow was expected on Tuesday, February 19th. They had received 73.7 inches of snow so far this winter (when the article was written)
, which is more than double the 32-inch norm for that point in the year, and was approaching the all-time record of 83.7 inches set in 1886-1887.
In Oshkosh, Wisconsin, an editorial
reminded its readers that, "Anybody who doesn't see or support the value of municipal street and county highway department crews right now probably never will. Without them, communities and commerce would be paralyzed this winter", adding that, "Plow operators and their supervisors have been forced to endure a nightmarish winter
On February 20th, Madison, Wisconsin was forecasting
a temperature plunge to -15 degrees F, but temperatures were expected to climb to the freezing point by the weekend.
In Iowa, 50 traffic fatalities were reported for the first 6 weeks of the year (through February 16), up from 42 during the same period in 2007 and 37 during the period in 2006, according to an article
in the Des Moines Register. Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Bob Cox said road conditions were worsening on February 18th. "I've probably seen 100 (vehicles) off the road in just a 40-mile stretch today," he said. "It's hard-packed ice. It's thick - 2 or 3 inches of it. It's almost like driving on a frozen gravel road. I've only seen it like this two or three times in my 28 years out here."
In Chicago, February 26th marked the 34th snow day
this winter, more than any since 1978-79. Another blast of cold arctic air was predicted to push through the area for the next day or two, with more snow predicted for February 28th. And according to the WGN Weather Center Blog, even Tucson, Arizona has been hit with a good dose of "winter". The comments came from Chicago-born Tony Bogusz who watches WGN Nine O’Clock News from Vail, Arizona - 20 miles east of downtown Tucson.
A weather pattern emerged in parts of Canada, which continued until at least mid-February according to a piece
at Canada.com. "We've been in this very active weather pattern, every few days getting a storm system move through," said Geoff Coulson, Environment Canada Warning Preparedness Meteorologist. Places like Toronto, not a traditionally snowy city, have already exceeded the amount of snowfall normally seen over an entire winter by several centimetres. "I think there are a number of places in Ontario, dealing with a bit of snow fatigue," Coulson said.
Meanwhile, the prairies continued to experience a bitter cold snap. Heavy snowfall warnings were issued for portions of southeastern Alberta, where winds combined with snow generated blizzard conditions. In Calgary, heavy snowfall downed power lines and left thousands of residents without electricity. Blizzard conditions were also affecting residents across Saskatchewan, where a low pressure system moving across southern Saskatchewan brought snow and strong winds. Many highways were reported to be ice covered.
In Manitoba, blowing snow and high winds created dangerous wind chill values of -50 C. "At these extreme wind chill values frostbite on exposed skin may occur in less than 10 minutes", said the Environment Canada website. On February 19th, CBC News was forecasting
that in Winnipeg, the mercury was expected to climb to only –26 C. Normal daytime temperatures in southern Manitoba for this time of year are around –7 C. Wind chill warnings and blizzard conditions also occurred in parts of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.TAJIKISTAN:
It's been the harshest winter in living memory
for Tajikistan, leaving hundreds of thousands of people bitterly cold and hungry. In some areas, temperatures have dropped below -20 and even -30 C. Rivers have frozen over, dealing a severe blow to the country’s decrepit and out-of-date hydroelectric power system, on which Tajiks are dependent. Energy supplies have also been cut from neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The result: severe shortages of gas, electricity, and food supplies.
Tajikistan Ice and Snow
"The effects of the severe weather are compounded by an energy shortage, which has left schools with little or no power, according to UNICEF. The agency is sending emergency supplies to Tajikistan, including generators for hospitals and child care centers," Montas said. Dushanbe, the capital, is one of the few places where residents can get 10 hours of electricity a day. In the rest of the county, people receive only four hours of electricity per day, with some districts left in total blackout.
Nargis, a resident in northern Panjakent city, said that even the walls in her apartment block are frozen. "It's very cold. Our walls, window, and cellar have frozen. There is no water here, because water pipelines burst from ice. Our cellar is covered with ice. We can't use our bathroom and have to go to the street," Nargis said. While people in villages heat their homes with coal and wood, residents in urban apartment blocks don't have that luxury. Some of them have installed woodstoves in their apartments in high-rise buildings. Others sleep wrapped in coats, caps, and blankets. A man in his 50s, a migrant worker from the southern Kulob region, was found frozen to death.
Medical sources say the number of people suffering from cold-related illnesses has shot up since December. However, many patients prefer to stay at home because hospitals (especially in rural areas) have limited hours of electricity and cannot afford to heat the building. Newborn babies, infants, and the elderly are suffering most. Doctors and nurses in maternity wards deliver babies by candlelight in dark, freezing rooms. According to official figures, 232 newborn babies died in maternity wards last month, although officials insist that not every case has been related to the cold weather.
Shokirjon Hakimov, a politician in Dushanbe, said people are starting to get angry and frustrated. "People are voicing their dissatisfaction in private gatherings and public places. Several children and elderly have died from cold. If things continue like this, the situation could go out of control," Hakimov said.
For now, Central Asia’s poorest country is relying on the kindness of strangers. The United States has pledged $2.5 million in emergency aid. Saudi Arabia reportedly will provide a $10 million grant to Dushanbe. Japan says it will give $90,000 and neighboring Turkmenistan has agreed to increase its daily electricity export to Tajikistan from 3.5 million kilowatt-hours to 6 million.AFGHANISTAN:
Afghanistan was particularly hard hit by the harsh winter weather conditions, according to a report
from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). More than 200,000 Afghans have been suffering. In the Western region, as of February 13th, there were 882 fatalities and the loss of over 134,000 livestock. But villages in remote areas were still inaccessible due to snow-covered roads, so the exact number of fatalities and losses were difficult to assess.
In the Central Highlands region, several key roads to and within the region were blocked for more than one month and a half. There were reports from around the region of deaths, especially from avalanches, extreme temperatures, pneumonia and acute respiratory infections, as well as losses of houses and livestock. Due to lack of access, it has not been possible to verify the exact number of casualties and losses. So far, an estimated 76 people have died.
Afghans suffer in cold weather
The Afghan government has partnered with ISAF crisis teams, UNAMA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFAO, UNCERF, WHO, IOM, the World Food Pragramme, and other NGOs to provide assistance.
According to a CNN article
, this Afghan winter is "considered the worst in three decades". Shikeeb Amraz, spokesman for the Afghan National Disaster Management Commission, said 926 people have lost their lives, 231 people were injured, and more than 1,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. Around 316,000 animals have died, he said.
Temperatures in the mountainous regions hit hard by the cold snap have reportedly been as low as -30 degrees C (-22 F). Remote regions have been hit badly by heavy snowfall and avalanches. Many people live in poor structures without protection and many of the animals have no shelter at all. The Public Health Ministry said more than 170,000 patients with pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections have been diagnosed and treated at hospitals around the country in the past two months. Many people lost fingers and toes to frostbite.GREENLAND:
Greenland's Sermitsiak reported
that the ice between Canada and southwestern Greenland has reached its highest level in 15 years. Denmark's Meteorological Institute stated, "Satellite pictures show that the ice expansion has extended farther south this year. In fact, it's a bit past the Nuuk area. We have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south. On the eastern coast it hasn't been colder than normal, but there has been a good amount of snow."ARCTIC:
A CBC News article
said that the "extreme cold temperatures" that Canadians were enduring had a benefit of helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic. Temperatures have stayed well in the -30s C and -40s C since January throughout the North, with the mercury dipping past -50 C in some areas. Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice to expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years.
The cold is also making the ice thicker in some areas, compared to recorded thicknesses last year. "The ice is about 10 to 20 centimetres thicker than last year, so that's a significant increase," said Gilles Langis, a senior ice forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa. If temperatures remain cold this winter, Langis said winter sea ice coverage will continue to expand.
Sea ice area. Click image to enlarge.
The website "Cryosphere Today
" by the University of Illinois provides the latest satellite findings reported by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on global sea ice. Although Arctic sea ice was at at its lowest levels ever recorded last summer, all of the sea ice lost in the last year has been recovered (see graph and satellite photo)
Snow cover in white. Click image to enlarge.ANTARCTIC:
From the same website ("Cryosphere Today
"), a graph shows that the amount of sea ice in the Antarctic has been gradually trending upward since 1980 (see graph)
Sea ice area. Click image to enlarge.
The extremely cold temperatures in the Antarctic last year resulted in record ice cap growth (see satellite photo)
Total global sea ice (a composite sum of both Arctic and Antarctic ice), has been amazingly stable from 1980 to 2008. While there was in fact a slight downward trend from 2005 through 2007, global sea ice spiked at the end of 2007 to more than a million square kilometers above the mean for the period 1979-2000.SOUTH AMERICA
On a side note, it should also be pointed out that the excessively cold temperatures in the Antarctic produced an unusually long South American winter
that was also the coldest in 90 years. The winter began in May, 2007 and was still persisting 7 months later in November. The temperature recorded in Buenos Aires on November 15th was 2.5 degrees C. Colder-than-normal temperatures were also reported in Chile, Brazil and Uruguay.
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Nov 15, 2007SCIENTIFIC OPINION
Scientists seem to be acknowledging that 2007-2008 has been the coldest winter
in decades for the northern hemisphere. They add that snow cover across the hemisphere is at its greatest since 1966. Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for this time of year.
All four major global temperature recording organizations reported "global cooling
" during the period January 2007 to January 2008...UK’s Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature (HadCRUT):
Click image to enlarge.NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS):
Click image to enlarge.University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH):
Click image to enlarge.Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA (RSS):
Click image to enlarge.For all four metrics the global average ∆T for January 2007 to January 2008 is: - 0.6405°C
For all practical purposes what this means is that the twelve-month drop in world temperatures has wiped out
a century of global-warming.
Melanie Phillips at 'The Spectator' (UK) provided the following collection
According to the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th century mean (-0.02°F/-0.01°C) for the first time since 1982. Temperatures were also colder than average across large swathes of central Asia, the Middle East, the western US, western Alaska and south-eastern China. The NCDC reported that the cold conditions were associated with 'the largest January snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent and for the Northern Hemisphere'. In some parts of China and central Asia, snow fell for the first time in living memory, the NCDC noted. 'For the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 30.5°F (-0.83°C) for January, which was 0.3°F (0.2°C) below the 20th century mean and the 49th coolest January on record, based on preliminary data'.
Much of North America was also hit by the heaviest snowfall since the 1960s. Meanwhile, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre found the January 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, while below the 1979-2000 mean, was greater than the previous four years. And the January 2008 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was significantly above the 1979-2000 mean, ranking as the largest sea ice extent in January over the 30-year historical period.
Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.
Of course, little can be gleaned from such a short data run of only 10-years, ...but the temperature anomaly has clearly dipped, and then flat-lined below its 1998 anomaly peak - and for nine years now. In other words, since 1998 there has been no global warming [not even any 'global warming']. Yet, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise, from c. 368 ppmv in 1998 to c. 384 ppmv in November, 2007 [see: 'CO2 Signals From The Past', February 1].
--Professor Philip Stott
While some scientists are skeptical that this is the beginning of a long-term trend, there is a growing consensus that we may be headed toward a 'Maunder Minimum'.
In an editorial
at 'Investors Business Daily' entitled "The Sun Also Sets", an intelligent discussion is presented on global-warming as it relates to solar activity...
Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity. Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.
Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle. This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.
Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.