JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Earliest recorded snow event in Western Australian history

Remember when climate modelers told us fossil fuels cause longer snow seasons?

No neither do I.

Albany, snowboarding, earliest snow, WA, 2019. | ABC Facebook

It is the earliest recorded snow event in a calendar year in the state’s history. Statistically, we can tell how anomalous this is by the behaviour of the local wildlife – seen snowboarding in shorts on the driveway in Albany. (Even going across the road). It’s possible this is the longest snowboard ride in the state’s history too. Though technically it is hail-boarding.

See snowboarding in Albany Western Australia

For foreign readers, WA (Western Aust) doesn’t have a snow season. Last regular snow was probably circa 20,000BC.

The ABC reports:

BOM forecaster Matt Boterhoven said snow was an extremely rare occurrence in April.

“It’s exceptional. We’ve only recorded once, in the last 100 years, snow as early as this on top of the Stirling Ranges,” he said.

“It’s related to a very strong cold air mass moving over the south-west of the state, so when conditions get below freezing and there’s precipitation, snow can form on top of Stirling Ranges.”

Mr Boterhoven predicted further [...]

So much snow in the Northern Winter ski resorts staying open ’til summer

Remember when Dr David Viner famously said “Children wont know what snow is?”

To paraphrase Tony Heller: “Soon Children Wont Know What Science Is”.

Two weeks ago snow mass in the Northern Hemisphere hit “exceptional”. This graph below is from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and unlike other datasets includes both snow and ice. They don’t say if this is an all-time record (since 1982).

Look at that chart: Total Snow Mass for the Northern Hemisphere (excluding mountains)

Source Cryosphere Now

 Exceptionally large winter snow

[Science Daily] In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum seasonal snow cover occurs in March. “This year has been a year with an exceptionally large amount of snow, when examining the entire Northern Hemisphere. The variation from one year to another has been somewhat great, and especially in the most recent years the differences between winters have been very great,” says Kari Luojus, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Credit: Image courtesy of Finnish Meteorological Institute

There are the usual we-still-believe weasel word caveats:

The weather fluctuates from one year to another and individual cold snaps in the Arctic area are not, as such, proof of the progression of climate [...]

Climate change causes three meters of snow in two days, avalanches in Europe

It’s not well known, but in the same way that climate change causes every hot weekend it also causes snow dumps, avalanches, and freak weather. The scientific link is just as strong and calculated the same way. Take a tendentious cross-correlation on free-range seasonal assumptions, and then pour Vodka in the Cray.

If only the Germans had built more windmills they could have stopped this. Chaos in ski resorts, people trapped, road closed, flights canceled

Three metres of snow fell in the space of 48 hours in some parts of the country and more than a metre is forecast to fall today and tomorrow. — The Times (paywalled)

Heavy snow paralysed much of Europe for yet another day, cutting off mountain villages, sparking avalanches like one that crashed into a Swiss hotel, and killing at least four people.

At least 21 weather-related deaths have been reported in Europe in the last 10 days.

—ABC

With three million dollars to spend today (like every day) the ABC found cute photos of white stuff on cuddly sheep and scooters to fit the deadly theme. Nice.

There is avalanche danger, blocked roads and floods in [...]

Climate change brings snow to Europe in summer

Good news. Children who don’t know what snow is can now ski in summer.

Heavy Summer Snowfall in European Alps – Austria, Italy, Germany & Switzerland Receive Up To 40cm

Matt Wiseman, Mountainwatch

Heavy snow fell above 1500 metres across the European Alps this weekend with a number of destinations reporting over 40cm of the fluffy white stuff.

While it is still summer in Europe, temperatures dropped over 15 degrees and dipped into the negatives in less than 24hrs

European heatwave comes to an abrupt end

Debbie White,  Mail Online

There’s been a dramatic plunge in temperature across parts of Europe where searing heat has suddenly given way to heavy snowfall of up to 40cm – despite it still being summer.

About 25cm of snow was dumped on Germany‘s highest peak, the Zugspitze, where temperatures reached a decidedly chilly 19.4F (-7C) yesterday.

Even Italy gets snow and a minus 8 C freeze

A ski resort in northern Italy was coated with 10cm of snow on Sunday as  temperatures plunged to -8C.

Snow is also falling on Calgary and Alberta too.

Locals are a bit surprised:

UK weather “going Mediterranean” so fast it overshoots to South Pole

The Guardian is covering the current Red Alert version of the Great British Snap Freeze

UK weather: Met office issues new red warning as wind and snow cause chaos – live

Having prepared so well for shorter winters, the National Grid in the UK warns that they may be running out of gas.

Hundreds are trapped on the M80 in cars and trucks between Glasgow and Stirling. Seventeen hours and counting…

But what about those UK vines and cacti?

Tony Heller reminds us that 10-15 years ago scientists were predicting that Drought may be the new norm,  and that Climate Change may turn UK Mediterranean. Plant experts were telling Brits that passionfruit and cacti will “thrive in warmer climates”. They even painted what it will look like:

Future British Garden

Look out for those “milder, wetter UK winters“:

A 2C rise  – which some climate scientists say is inevitable by the end of the century – would see the South East of England experiencing conditions similar to south west France, while a 4C rise would expose gardens to conditions seen in south-west Portugal, the Trust said.

Herbaceous borders and water-loving English [...]

Last record-breaking winter with snow hits Canada, US, before “nobody knows what snow is”

UPDATE: Record breaking snow falling in upstate New York. Pennsylvania.

 The airport in Erie, Pennsylvania, has had a whopping 65.1 inches of snow from this lake effect event — the highest snowfall total from any event on record in Erie. (Heavy lake effect snow is produced by cold Arctic air moving over relatively mild water temperatures in the Great Lakes.) — World News, ABC (US) News

40,000 people in Cleveland lost power overnight.

New York City may have coldest New Year’s Eve since 1960s… — ABC News

Great Lakes, via NOAA

In freak conditions, Canadians (and many people in the US too) are getting a chance to enjoy record cold for the last time before climate change makes winters unbearably mild.

Extreme cold in Toronto smashes 57-year-old temperature record

Temperatures observed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport bottomed out at -22 C [-7.7F]  this morning. The previous record for this date was set in 1960, when it hit -18.9 C. [-2F]

Tristan Hopper does some first class bragging about the cold: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg: A guide to how damned cold it is

Vancouver is as [...]

Climate Change causes more snow and ice on Greenland

Right now, the hottest year ever appears to be causing an extra 4 billion tons a day or so of frozen stuff on Greenland.

Thanks to Patrick Moore, @EcoSenseNow, who tweeted: “Holy Shomoly, look what’s going down on Greenland. Ice World” after Richard Cowley posted the DMI link.

Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1990-2013 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 24 years (in the period 1990-2013) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 24 years have been left out.

Source: Danish Climate Centre.

Over the last decade the Greenland Ice Sheet may have been losing 200Gt per year, but evidently, this winter it’s making some of that back. The Danish Climate Centre describes the graph:

[...]

Global warming dumps late snow in Australia. Fires one year. Flood the next.

A major stormfront in NSW has dropped 170mm on rain on Ulladulla, ploughed down trees, drove waves 8m high onshore, and put the airport underwater in Sydney. It has carpeted the Blue Mountains in 20cm of snow. 30,000 homes lost electricity and 60 people were stuck in a train for two hours. This time last year the region was burning. Amazing photos at the Daily Mail.

Proof of man-made global warming…

h/t to Eric Worrall and Waxing Gibberish.

Image (Top) Photographer Nick Moir, SMH | (Bottom) No photographer listed, Daily Telegraph.

Story of the Fires in 2013 in the SMH  |   Story with the photos of snow Daily Telegraph

Doreatha Mackellar 1908: 

I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains.

We hope everyone is safe.

New paper shows solar activity is linked to the Greenland climate even 20,000 years ago

This new paper by Adophi et al uses beryllium, oxygen and carbon isotopes from Greenland ice cores right back as far as the depth of the last ice age, 22,500 years ago, and finds there is a link between solar activity and the climate. It follows these proxies of temperature and solar activity as the planet warmed to the start of the Holocene 10,000 years ago.

It is gaining attention in The Daily Mail, with the headline:

Is the SUN driving climate change? Solar activity – ‘and not just humans’ – could be increasing global warming, study claims

During the last glacial maximum, Sweden was covered in a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany and sea levels were more than 330ft (100m) lower than they are today, because the water was frozen in the extensive ice caps.

‘The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change,’ Dr Muscheler said in a press release.

‘It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. 

Dr Joanna Haigh, Professor [...]

Snow, blizzards, early winter in Europe, UK Met Office says horror winter predictions “are irresponsible”

This means nothing of course. Just weather. (No, actually I do mean that, though I expect those who look for excuses to complain will say I’m not allowed to discuss weather conditions. It’s a “dog-whistle”, or something.) For balance I’ll point out it’s been record hot on the East Coast of Australia. (Sydney’s  “third hottest October day since records began 154 years ago.”)

But seriously, it’s interesting (and sad) that snow in Dakota killed 100,000 head of cattle, that early heavy snow has fallen in Europe (nearly a meter in Switzerland), it’s been called the worst start to “winter for 200 years”. The snowfall in Germany was the largest at the start of winter since records started in 1800.

Probably most interesting of all is that long range forecasters are issuing catastrophic warnings (they are quite extreme) but the UK Met says that’s “irresponsible”, and that trying to predict the weather that far in advance is “crystal ball” gazing. (Oh really?)  They didn’t seem so concerned about predicting hot horrors on longer timeframes…

It’s been an early cold winter already in Europe NoTricksZone “Most Severe Winter Start In 200 Years!” + Euro Municipalities Now Ignoring Foolish Predictions Of Warm Winters [...]

2000 Forecast: Snowfall to disappear from the UK

Photo: London Evening Standard 24 Nov 2010

Monday, 20 March 2000.  Look out! Back when every witchdoctor had a PR agent and newspapers dutifully repeated their latest crystal ball incantation, it was reported (without so much as a caveat) that there would soon be no more white Christmases in London, and worse, soon  “kids will not know snow”. Gone too would be the scenes that inspired glorious impressionist images, and lyrical poetry. Are you in tears yet? The travesty!

Pity the poor shop owners who were trying to order stock based on met office “forecasts”. Back in 2000, shop owners were not bothering to stock sledges.

No more snowmen in England!

h/t to Bernadette and Trevor who spotted this gem.

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians, 20th March 2000

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not [...]