Calendar Says February, But Record Temps Feel Like August
Cold Enough to Ski; Too Mild to Ice-Climb
The abnormally mild February hasn't put a dent in Colorado's bang-up ski season. The highest slopes are still more than cold enough to support a healthy snowpack even with above-average temperatures. At opensnow.com, Joel Gratz noted that the statewide snowpack as of Sunday, Feb. 12, had already matched the level reached during the early-April peak of an average year. "What an awesome season so far with more to come!" exclaimed Gratz. Meanwhile, at Colorado's lower elevations, those hankering for winter recreation felt the pinch of unseasonal warmth. The state's Ouray Ice Park climbing venue was forced to close for the season on Friday, Feb. 10, a full month earlier than average. "While we still hold a glimmer of hope for this season at the Park, that is fading fast," said the park in a plaintive online statement.
Surges of Warmth Continue to Funnel Into High Arctic
The strong jet streams crossing the U.S. of late have spun up several powerful Northeast snowstorms (see embedded video below) and gone on to push very mild, moist air deep into the Arctic. One such spike arrived late last week, with temperatures of 50°F or more above average approaching the North Pole as reported by Capital Weather Gang and The Weather Network (Canada).
Well downstream from the nor'easter that was slamming eastern New England on Monday, a swath of low-latitude air pushed the temperature at Eyjabakkar, Iceland, up to 19.1°C (66.4°F). If validated, this will rank a full 1°C (1.8°F) above the previous national record for February, set at Dalatangi on Feb. 17, 1998, according to international weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera. He adds that temperatures in the free atmosphere over central Sweden were analyzed above the freezing mark on Monday at heights of up to 11,000 feet.
Unsurprisingly, the extent of Arctic sea ice remains at record-low levels for mid-February. Moreover, the extent of Antarctic sea ice is on the brink of setting a record-low value for any time of year.
This year is lagging all other years since records began in 1979 for sea ice extent in February.National Snow and Ice Data Center
Eastern Australia Blisters in All-Time Record Heat
Another swarm of heat records invaded eastern Australia, where a brutal summer is unfolding. Port Macquairie, where records have been kept since 1910, broke its all-time record for any date on Sunday with a scorching high of 46.6°C (115.9°F). That's an incredible 3.3°C (5.9 F) above the city's previous all-time high. "You don't break [100-plus-year] records by 3°C," noted Andrew Watkins (@windjunky). An even older all-time high fell at Toowoomba, Queensland, where a maximum of 40.3°C (104.5°F) was the first reading above 40°C (104°F) since records began at Toowoomba way back in 1869. Fire danger across parts of tinder-dry New South Wales has been at near-record levels and bushfires have already swallowed up dozens of homes, with more hot weather returning late this week.
Annotated GOES-16 imagery of the winter storm that pummeled eastern New England and the Canadian Maritimes on Monday, Feb. 13.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Weather Underground.
By Stacy Malkan
Neil deGrasse Tyson has inspired millions of people to care about science and imagine themselves as participants in the scientific process. What a hopeful sign it is to see young girls wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Forget princess, I want to be an astrophysicist."
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."
By Katie O'Reilly
Two years ago—long before coal became one of the most dominant and controversial symbols of the 2016 presidential election—Bloomberg Philanthropies approached production company RadicalMedia with the idea of creating a documentary exploring the U.S. coal mining industry. Last spring, they brought on Emmy-nominated director Michael Bonfiglio, tasked with forging a compelling story out of the multitudes of facts, statistics and narratives underlying the declining industry.
The Sierra Club released a new analysis Friday that found that transitioning all 1,400+ U.S. Conference of Mayors member-cities to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity will significantly reduce electric sector carbon pollution nationwide and help the U.S. towards meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Watch above as Newsy explains that the decision comes despite serious concerns from the environmental and scientific community, and Tribal Nations about a declining, isolated grizzly bear population with diminishing food resources and record-high mortalities.
By Francine Kershaw
Seismic airguns exploding in the ocean in search for oil and gas have devastating impacts on zooplankton, which are critical food sources for marine mammals, according to a new study in Nature. The blasting decimates one of the ocean's most vital groups of organisms over huge areas and may disrupt entire ecosystems.
And this devastating news comes on the heels of the National Marine Fisheries Service's proposal to authorize more than 90,000 miles of active seismic blasting. Based on the results of this study, the affected area would be approximately 135,000 square miles.
By Jill Richardson
Is coconut oil:
- good for you
- bad for you
- neither good nor bad
- scientists don't know
The subject of this question is the source of a disagreement. Initially, the question was thought to be settled decades ago, when scientist Ancel Keys declared all saturated fats unhealthy. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a saturated fat.