Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upside down weather - Wind chill warning are in place across much of east and central Canada as Canadians brave some of the LOWEST WINTER TEMPERATURES IN DECADES. Yet some of MILDEST WEATHER is currently being seen in the NORTHERN ARCTIC regions. The city of Whitehorse in Yukon was enjoying a relatively balmy -1C on Monday. "We have had some very high temperatures. It's almost as if the weather was upside down."
Further south, in Ottawa, the temperature reached -28.6C, the LOWEST RECORDED SINCE 1970. Montreal fell to -22C. Americans are being warned that the cold front is heading their way next. Residents in the north-eastern states of Maine and Vermont have been warned to expect similar temperatures to those seen in Canada.
Over the last month, the high Arctic in Canada has been experiencing RECORD WARMTH - with the average temperatures over a 29-day period MORE THAN 21 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.
A year ago, during the winter of 2009/10, Canada experienced its warmest and driest winter since records began. The anomaly was blamed on medium-strength El Niño, which tends to send warmer-than-average air over Canada. News organisations covered the break-up of ice in Iqaluit - the capital of normally icy Nunavut - which endangered the snowmobile race that the local people run on Frobisher Bay. This year, the snowmobile race couldn't run at all. There was no ice to break up, despite a very strong La Niña - the reverse of El Niño conditions - taking place in the Pacific, which should have sent cold air pouring across the top of North America.
Instead, it appears that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has had a strong influence on the region's climate, with a strongly negative NAO blocking the jet stream that normally keeps cold air up in the far Arctic north, and the open water that remains has got the region caught in a positive feedback loop. Instead, that cold air has poured down over Europe and the United States, creating bitterly cold, snowy conditions that have dominated most media coverage of the weather this winter.
The temperatures in Canada have been far more extreme, though. In one location - Coral Harbour in Nunavut - a typical mid-January day's temperature will peak at -26C, and sink to -34C at night. On cold years, it'll sink lower than that. After New Year's Day 2011, lowest daily temperatures in Coral Harbour stayed above the average high mercury mark for 11 days straight. On 5 and 6 January, temperatures rose above 0C - SOMETHING THAT'S NEVER BEEN RECORDED DURING JANUARY, FEBRUARY OR MARCH. On 6 January, the lowest temperature recorded was just above -4C - 30 degrees above the average low temperature for that time of year.
The effects are being felt on the population. "It's impossible for many people in parts of the eastern Arctic to safely get on the ice to hunt much-needed food for their families - for THE SECOND WINTER IN A ROW. Never before have we seen weather impact a way of life in so many small and big ways."

**Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon.
which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.
It is a sword that heals.**
Martin Luther King, Jr.

This morning -

Yesterday -
1/24/11 -


RUSSIA - Erupting volcano Kizimen on Kamchatka Peninsula is spurting ashes to a height of more than four kilometers. "Presently Kizimen presents a danger to aircraft flying in the vicinity, the volcano has been assigned the code orange threat to aviation. The abrasive particles of volcanic ash can infiltrate aircraft mechanisms, causing a plane crash." Volcano Kizimen, dormant since 1929, became active in 2009.

Cyclone ANTHONY was 789 nmi E of Townsville, Australia.
Cyclone WILMA was 1294 nmi NNE of Auckland, New Zealand.

Tropical Cyclone Anthony is expected to start tracking back towards the north Queensland coast late today but it does not pose an immediate threat to Australia. The category one system continued to move away from the coast last night and is currently more than 1,100 kilometres, east north-east of Mackay. It has been weakening in the last day but that could mean it is about to loop back towards land. "It's not unusual for them to change direction but it does make them difficult to track because the environment keeps changing. At this stage it's weak and it's having the affect of dragging relatively dry air right across the tropics." The system may intensify today. "Be aware that it's sitting out there - it is going to head in our direction. "I'd like to give it another 24 to 36 hours before we start making a call one way or another, but I suppoose it's just be aware that it's sitting out there. It is that time of the year and we should be on our toes."

Far flung islands warned of Cyclone Wilma - The Ministry of Works and Transport has advised the people of Ono I Lau and Vatoa, two of the most far-flung islands in the Fiji group, to take strong precautionary measures as Cyclone Wilma is expected to pass by them tonight. "For the outer islands in Ono we would like to advise at this stage to stay away from the island roads and to take heed of the weather bulletin. We’re working closely with the National Disaster Centre and of course they have been highlighting to us the issues that is confronting us particularly the direction the storm is to come from." If the hurricane maintains its current path, it will pass close to the two islands tonight, bringing heavy rain, strong winds, flooding and very rough seas.


PENNSYLVANIA - Monday, the official temperature at Wilkes Barre Airport of -8 BROKE ALL COLD WEATHER RECORDS BACK TO 1901 when the National Weather Service began keeping track. In certain areas of Pike and Wayne Counties temperatures plunged lower, posing a threat to area residents.

RECORD BREAKING SNOWFALL in much of Alberta, Canada has resulted in people taking some unorthodox methods of clearing snow from roof tops. One video shows a man taking a snow blower to his roof. In some spots the snow was nearly 4 feet deep. So far, one business in Spruce Grove (just west of Edmonton) has had its roof collapse during business hours . Fortunately no one was killed or injured in that incident. The sudden warming trend this week is expected to make matters even worse as the snow pack compresses. The record amount of snow fall this year is largely thought to be an effect of La Niña weather patterns.


EAST AFRICA - Poor rains in late 2010 brought much of East Africa into drought that led to crop failures and poor pasture. East Africa is about as far from the Central Pacific Ocean as a person can get without leaving the planet. And yet, as the Pacific chills, drought grips East Africa in classic La Niña style. Because of global teleconnections, La Niña has to power to affect the weather half a world away.A satellite image shows severe drought in Somalia, Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. A typical December in much of East Africa is rainy, the end of a 3-month rainy period before a dry stretch that usually lasts from January to March. In 2010, however, the rains were erratic and ended in early November. December was hot and dry. Two thirds of Somalia received less than 75 percent of normal rainfall. Without rain, the pastureland and cropland in the region produced poor crops and little grass for livestock, leading to food shortages and livestock deaths.
Poor or failed rainfall during the short rain growing season (October to December) is a classic La Niña signal. In late 2010, a strong La Niña cooled surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, while allowing warmer water to build in the eastern Pacific. The pool of warm water in the east intensifies rains in Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Domino-style, this pattern also increases the intensity of westerly winds over the Indian Ocean, pulling moisture away from East Africa toward Indonesia and Australia. The result? Drought over most of East Africa and floods and lush vegetation in Australia and other parts of Southeast Asia.


The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report on how to feed the planet until 2050. Governments must take action to change dietary habits, cut waste, reduce subsidies and embrace genetically modified food, said the Global Food and Farming Futures report. The study said that with the global population forecast to reach nine billion in 40 years' time, radical changes were needed to a system already struggling to feed the existing population. "With the global population set to rise and food prices likely to increase, it is crucial that a wide range of complementary actions from policy makers, farmers and businesses are taken now. Urgent change is required throughout the food system to bring sustainability centre stage and end hunger. It is also vital for other areas, such as climate change mitigation, conflict, and economic growth."
The report found that the threat of hunger could increase, saying that current efforts were already stalling and food prices could rise substantially over the next 40 years. As hunger spread, the threat of migration and conflict would increase, while wider economic growth would also be affected. THE GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEM IS ALREADY LIVING BEYOND ITS MEANS, consuming resources faster than they can be replenished. Substantial changes to water and energy use and addressing climate change are needed to bring about sustainability.
The world's food system is failing on two counts. "Firstly, it is unsustainable, with resources being used faster than they can be naturally replenished. Secondly, a billion people are going hungry with another billion people suffering from 'hidden hunger', whilst a billion people are over-consuming." The report said that new technologies such as genetic modification, cloned livestock and nanotechnology "should not be excluded a priori on ethical or moral grounds" and have the potential to be "very valuable for the poorest people in low-income countries". Investment in technology research is "essential" given the magnitude of the food security challenges ahead. New strategies would "benefit the poorest the most, simply by improving access to knowledge and technology, creating better access to markets and investing in infrastructure".