Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Ice Age Now - Extremely Strange "Chandeliering Ice" Phenomena Unfolds At Medicine Lake, Minnesota; Local Residents Stunned By the "Ice Needles"?!

April 30, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An incredible video shows needles of ice apparently flowing from a lake in Minnesota - even while the ambient air temperature is cool enough for passers-by to wear T-shirts.  The mysterious phenomenon at Medicine Lake, east Minneapolis, was spotted this weekend as winter temperatures finally broke in the state and the mercury soared to 26C.  Prior to that Minnesotans had just endured freezing weather that had led to the latest thaw of the state's frozen lakes since records began.  


Weird phenomenon: Passers-by reach out to touch the ice piling up on the shores of Medicine Lake, east Minneapolis, even as ambient temperatures are warm enough for them to wear T-shirts.

'That's so cool': The mysterious-looking phenomenon was spotted as winter temperatures finally broke in Minnesota and temperatures soared to a balmy 26C.

The video shows bemused locals wearing spring clothes and watching as ice seems to flow directly from the waters of the lake onto the land.  One woman among those watching can be heard exclaiming 'that's so cool' as needles of ice pile up against the shore in drifts.  

Local news weather reports claimed that the late end to winter had left Minneapolis's lakes still covered with a thin layer of ice which a south wind was pushing against their northern shores.  This was causing the ice to splinter and accumulate against the shore rather like snow, Minnesota's KARE11 news explained. 


Ice drift: These scenes occurred at Medicine Lake in the west Minneapolis, but local weather reports suggested it was also happening at other lakes throughout the state.

Thawing: The effect was caused by the thin sheets of ice remaining on the lakes crashing against the shore and splintering and accumulating at the edges rather like snow.

'Like a really slow, really cold tsunami': The incredible video prompted a wave of comment on social news site Reddit.

A video posted of the phenomenon on YouTube led to a wave of comment on social news website Reddit.  A user going by the name MedievalManagement quipped: 'Wow. That's like a really slow, really cold tsunami.'  Minnesota's weather, which fluctuates wildly according to season, remained cold and icy far later than usual this year.  It finally broke yesterday with highs of 27C in southern parts of the state, after earlier in the week temperatures had plumbed as low as 3C with snow.  Forecasters are, however, warning of more snow by Thursday.

WATCH: Ice needles on a beach in Minnesota?




WHAT'S MAKING THE ICE PILE UP?
The video shows the effect caused by thin sheets of ice still covering the lake smashing into splinters as it its the shore. Local weather reports explained that a stiff south wind was pushing the ice sheets against northern shores, causing them to splinter and accumulate like snow drifts of icy needles. Some had speculated that it wasin fact needle ice growing rapidly from the soil, but weather conditions at the time do not support this hypothesis. - Daily Mail.



MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: "The Rose" - Mammoth Storm Seen On Planet Saturn Confounds NASA; 20 Times Bigger Than Average Earth Hurricane; The Eye Is 1,250 Miles Wide!

April 30, 2013 - SATURNNASA's Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn's north pole.


The Rose - The spinning vortex of Saturn's north polar storm resembles a deep red rose of giant proportions surrounded by green foliage in this false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Measurements have sized the eye at a staggering 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) across with cloud speeds as fast as 330 miles per hour (150 meters per second).

This image is among the first sunlit views of Saturn's north pole captured by Cassini's imaging cameras. When the spacecraft arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, it was northern winter and the north pole was in darkness. Saturn's north pole was last imaged under sunlight by NASA's Voyager 2 in 1981; however, the observation geometry did not allow for detailed views of the poles. Consequently, it is not known how long this newly discovered north-polar hurricane has been active.

The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nanometers are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nanometers are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nanometers are projected as red. In this scheme, red indicates low clouds and green indicates high ones.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 261,000 miles (419,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 94 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

In high-resolution pictures and video, scientists see the hurricane's eye is about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide, 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth.

Thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of the hurricane are traveling 330 mph(150 meters per second). The hurricane swirls inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as the hexagon.

"We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn's hydrogen atmosphere."

Scientists will be studying the hurricane to gain insight into hurricanes on Earth, which feed off warm ocean water. Although there is no body of water close to these clouds high in Saturn's atmosphere, learning how these Saturnian storms use water vapor could tell scientists more about how terrestrial hurricanes are generated and sustained.

Both a terrestrial hurricane and Saturn's north polar vortex have a central eye with no clouds or very low clouds. Other similar features include high clouds forming an eye wall, other high clouds spiraling around the eye, and a counter-clockwise spin in the northern hemisphere.


Spring at the North Pole - The north pole of Saturn, in the fresh light of spring, is revealed in this color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The north pole was previously hidden from the gaze of Cassini's imaging cameras because it was winter in the northern hemisphere when the spacecraft arrived at the Saturn system in 2004.

A hurricane-like storm circling Saturn's north pole at about 89 degrees north latitude is inside the famous "hexagon" feature, which scientists think is a wandering jet stream that whips around the north pole at about 220 miles per hour (98 meters per second). It folds into a six-sided shape because the hexagon is a stationary wave that guides the path of the gas in the jet. The hexagon borders occur at about 77 degrees north latitude and the feature is wider than two Earths. Saturn's rings can be seen at the upper right of the image.

Images with red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural-color view, which is what the human eye would see if we were there at Saturn. The image here was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2012 at a distance of approximately 260,000 miles (418,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 96 degrees. Image scale is 18 miles (28.6 kilometers) per pixel.

A false-color version of this image can be seen at PIA14946.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger than its counterparts on Earth and spins surprisingly fast. At Saturn, the wind in the eye wall blows more than four times faster than hurricane-force winds on Earth.

Unlike terrestrial hurricanes, which tend to move, the Saturnian hurricane is locked onto the planet's north pole. On Earth, hurricanes tend to drift northward because of the forces acting on the fast swirls of wind as the planet rotates. The one on Saturn does not drift and is already as far north as it can be.

"The polar hurricane has nowhere else to go, and that's likely why it's stuck at the pole," said Kunio Sayanagi, a Cassini imaging team associate at Hampton University in Hampton, Va.

Scientists believe the massive storm has been churning for years. When Cassini arrived in the Saturn system in 2004, Saturn's north pole was dark because the planet was in the middle of its north polar winter.

During that time, the Cassini spacecraft's composite infrared spectrometer and visual and infrared mapping spectrometer detected a great vortex, but a visible-light view had to wait for the passing of the equinox in August 2009.

Only then did sunlight begin flooding Saturn's northern hemisphere. The view required a change in the angle of Cassini's orbits around Saturn so the spacecraft could see the poles.

"Such a stunning and mesmerizing view of the hurricane-like storm at the north pole is only possible because Cassini is on a sportier course, with orbits tilted to loop the spacecraft above and below Saturn's equatorial plane," said Scott Edgington, Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "You cannot see the polar regions very well from an equatorial orbit. Observing the planet from different vantage points reveals more about the cloud layers that cover the entirety of the planet."


Enter the Vortex ... in Psychedelic Color - This spectacular, vertigo inducing, false-color image from NASA's Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn's north pole. The angry eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green. Low-lying clouds circling inside the hexagonal feature appear as muted orange color. A second, smaller vortex pops out in teal at the lower right of the image. The rings of Saturn appear in vivid blue at the top right.

The images were taken with Cassini's wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light. The images filtered at 890 nanometers are projected as blue. The images filtered at 728 nanometers are projected as green, and images filtered at 752 nanometers are projected as red. At Saturn, this scheme means colors correlate to different altitudes in the planet's polar atmosphere: red indicates deep, while green shows clouds that are higher in altitude. High clouds are typically associated with locations of intense upwelling in a storm. These images help scientists learn the distribution and frequencies of such storms. The rings are bright blue in this color scheme because there is no methane gas between the ring particles and the camera.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 261,000 miles (419,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 94 degrees. Image scale is 13 miles (22 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Cassini changes its orbital inclination for such an observing campaign only once every few years. Because the spacecraft uses flybys of Saturn's moon Titan to change the angle of its orbit, the inclined trajectories require attentive oversight from navigators.

The path requires careful planning years in advance and sticking very precisely to the planned itinerary to ensure enough propellant is available for the spacecraft to reach future planned orbits and encounters.

WATCH: Massive hurricane on Saturn.




The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about Cassini and its mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . - NASA.


MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Major Disaster Precursors - Sea Lion Pups Continue To Wash Up On California Coast; 1,400 So Far In 2013?!

April 30, 2013 -UNITED STATES - Marine biologists on the West Coast are struggling to understand the reason why an alarming number of sea lion pups are turning up near death along Southern California's coastline.  Some 1,400 young California sea lions were admitted to rehabilitation centers throughout the state since the beginning of the year, Sarah Wilkin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Fox News.  That number is five times the normal rate of beached pups that typically appear between January and April, Wilkin said.  


Sea lion mystery: Marine biologists on the West Coast are struggling to understand the reason why an alarming number of sea lion pups are turning up near death along Southern California's coastline

‘Nobody was quite prepared for the scope of this,’ she told Fox News. ‘The major common factor for all these stranded pups is that they're coming in emaciated, dehydrated, basically starving. They have been unable to find enough food to sustain themselves.’  Wilkin and other marine biologists have yet to figure out why the pups are not getting enough of the fish they need for both nutrition and hydration is still unclear.   


Rising number: Some 1,400 young California sea lions were admitted to rehabilitation centers throughout the state since the beginning of the year.

'Unusual mortality event': NOAA has labeled the bizarre and upsetting phenomena an 'unusual mortality event' with hopes that the organization will receive additional funding for rehabilitation and research.

What is known is that the epidemic only affects the young as most of the sick sea lions arriving on the shore were born last summer.  ‘The pups can't dive as deep,’ said Wilkin. ‘They can't travel as far so they might be more impacted in even just a slight change in the distribution of prey.’ 

 
Unprecedented: David Bard with the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro said his facility usually receives between 50 and 80 animals in the first quarter of the year, while in 2013 it has treated more than 400 already.

Possible causes: The NOAA is working with fishery scientists and oceanographers to pinpoint the exact cause, including possible food shortages, exposure to biotoxins, disease and human pollutants.

NOAA has labeled the bizarre and upsetting phenomena an ‘unusual mortality event’ with hopes that the organization will receive additional funding for rehabilitation and research.  ‘The numbers speak for themselves,’ David Bard with the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro told Fox News. ‘As far as the underlying causes, anything that I can tell you would be a guess.’  Bard said his facility usually receives between 50 and 80 animals in the first quarter of the year, while in 2013 it has treated more than 400 already. 

WATCH: Mystery as record number of seal pups continue to wash up on California coast.




‘What we started seeing since January is animals coming in at roughly half the weight that they should be,’ said Bard. ‘You can see their shoulder blades, you can see their spines.’  Wilkin says the NOAA is working with fishery scientists and oceanographers to pinpoint the exact cause, including possible food shortages, exposure to biotoxins, disease and human pollutants.  They are also considering the possibility of radiation contamination from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown following the 2011 tsunami.  However, Wilkin said that despite the cause, the rising number of beached sea lion pups could be an indication of something more troubling in the waters off the coast of California. - Daily Mail.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up In America - Sinkhole Closes Roads, May Disrupt Water Service In Taylorsville, Utah!

April 30, 2013 - UNITED STATESA sinkhole that opened in a road in Taylorsville could cause water service disruptions in the area, and it will close nearby roads until at least Monday.

The sinkhole opened near 5400 South and 3200 West after an old metal pipe connecting drainage lines under the road collapsed.

The hole is about 6 feet wide on the surface, but under the asphalt it’s about 20 feet deep.




All northbound and southbound lanes on 3200 West and 5400 South in the area will be closed until at least Monday.

Residents can expect disruptions to their water service as crews work to repair pipes and refill the sinkhole.
Taylorsville City Spokeswoman Aimee Newton said they are working to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

“Taylorsville city officials are doing everything they can to assist UDOT in taking care of this,” she said.

“We have our emergency personnel out here to make sure that the traffic flow isn’t hampered too greatly, and [they’re] doing a great job on trying to keep things moving.” - FOX13 News.

WATCH: Sinkhole pops up in Taylorsville, Utah.




WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unusual Start To Tornado Season In The United States - 226 So Far This Year, 366 Less Than Last Year?!

April 30, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Tornado season has been off to a slow start compared to the amped-up season last year. The daily count and running annual trend of tornadoes in the United States has been significantly lower this season compared to last. According to NOAA, there were 592 tornadoes between Jan. 1 and April 25. This season during the same period, the U.S. has only endured 226 tornadoes. The average is 492.


Photo Courtesy of Photos.com

AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said that there has been a decrease in tornadoes this year compared to last.

"The tornado season is below normal in regards to tornadoes since May 2012," Margusity said.

Last year, tornadoes were active during the first half of the season from Jan. 1 through April 25. The decrease in tornadoes this season can be attributed to a much colder weather pattern, according to Margusity.

"Last year we had gangbusters to start out the year, and this year we haven't had any," he said.

Warmer weather has been delayed this season compared to last. Cold dry air has been reached farther south.

"Last January was very warm. As the warmth continued, there were more outbreaks," he said.

AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said the cold pattern that has occupied the United States is due to a major change in the upper levels of the atmosphere above the Arctic Circle. A pattern change that occurred in February allowed cold air from Canada to dip down into southern states. This pattern occupied much of the U.S. into April.

With cold air sticking around for a longer period of time, conditions were not favorable for tornado formation, Margusity said.

Harold Brooks, senior scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma, also agrees that cold weather has a played a significant role in deterring tornadoes from forming.

"Final counts in March will be close to the lowest mark on record," he said.

This tornado season is below normal, and Brooks said it is in the lower 10 percent of tornado activity over the past 60 years.

The reason that we witnessed more tornadoes last year is because January through March was very warm compared to this year.




This year, cold fronts moving into the Gulf of Mexico have spread dry air across the Southern states, according to Margusity. Due to the cold, dry air that was dipping so far south, sea temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were not that warm yet. With sea temperatures not rising as fast as last year and a colder weather pattern in place, humid, moist air from the Gulf, a necessity for tornado development, has not been available. However, Kottlowski said temperatures are starting to rise.

With cold air lasting into the latter part of spring and the lack of deep tropical moisture, this has contributed to the lack of tornado formation.

"The atmosphere is not unstable," Kottlowski said.

Margusity said that this is just a weather pattern we are in. Weather conditions are not favorable for producing tornadoes. The tornado season in 2004 was similar to this one; however, Margusity pointed out that we are not in a La Nina or El Nino that would be driving this colder weather pattern.

However, AccuWeather meteorologists think that the months of May and June could be active when it comes to tornadoes.

"Our fear is that there will be more severe weather in June," Kottlowski said.

According to Kottlowski, severe weather will occur in May, but a better question to ask is how frequently tornadoes will occur.

Brooks said that even though we got off to a slow start, there is no way to really tell what the rest of the season will be like.

"This means nothing for May. Anything that happens between Jan. 1 to April virtually tells us nothing about how the rest of the season will be," he said.

As far as predicting when and where tornadoes will form, meteorologists are still researching.

Predicting exactly where a tornado will strike is hard to do because tornadoes are unpredictable. However, Margusity said that eventually meteorologists will be able to predict 6-12 hours in advance which areas are likely to have tornadoes and the severity.


Graph courtesy of NOAA.

Brooks also expressed the challenge of predicting tornadoes and hopes that by 10 years we will have more technology to predict when and where tornadoes will occur.

"Maybe 10 years, between five and 10 years from now depending on time of year and what type of system we are looking for. It is a hard research problem," he said.

The decline in tornadoes compared to last year is not a bad thing.

Margusity said that with a lack of tornadoes, there is no massive destruction, and people are not getting hurt or killed from severe weather. - AccuWeather.





ICE AGE NOW: Welcome To The Twilight Zone - Freakish And Bizarre Cold Makes Spring Hard To Find Across Northern U.S.; Snowstorm, Dramatic Change To Cold In Store For Denver; Strong Cold Front Will Plunge Temperature Drops By 60+ Degrees Across The Midwest!

April 30, 2013 - UNITED STATESApril has been a freakishly cold month across much of the northern USA, bringing misery to millions of sun-starved and winter-weary residents from the Rockies to the Midwest. "The weather map ... looks like something out of The Twilight Zone," Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas of WeatherNation TV wrote on his blog last week.

Freakish Cold Makes Spring Hard To Find Across Northern United States.

John and Laura Reinhardt walk with umbrellas in the snow around Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 22.(Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, AP)

Record cold and snow has been reported in dozens of cities, with the worst of the chill in the Rockies, upper Midwest and northern Plains. Several baseball games have been snowed out in both Denver and Minneapolis. Cities such as Rapid City, S.D.; Duluth, Minn.; and Boulder, Colo., have all endured their snowiest month ever recorded. (In all three locations, weather records go back more than 100 years.) In fact, more than 1,100 snowfall records and 3,400 cold records have been set across the nation so far in April, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Unfortunately for warm-weather lovers, after some mild temperatures the past few days, the chill is forecast to return as the calendar turns to May: Accumulating snow is forecast overnight Tuesday night and Wednesday in Denver and in Minneapolis-St.Paul by Wednesday night and Thursday, said AccuWeather meteorologist Mark Paquette.


Jacey Woodward rides Pistol along a ridgeline April 12, 2013, on his ranch near Ardmore, S.D., while looking for a cow who got outside a fence. The combination of snow accumulation and melt made getting around difficult for ranchers in the area.(Photo: Chris Huber, AP)

And across much of the central USA, temperatures will be from 25 to 45 degrees colder on Wednesday than they were Monday, according to AccuWeather. For instance, Denver should see a high of 35 degrees Wednesday, after a high near 80 on Monday. As for the cause of the ongoing cold? A stuck weather pattern that's continued to funnel frigid air into the central USA from Canada for the past few months. Specifically, the troublemaker is what's known as a "blocking" area of high pressure over Greenland, eastern Canada and the North Atlantic Ocean, which favors a cold northwest flow of air over the central and eastern USA, Paquette said. If you want warmth, he said, head west: Hot, dry, windy conditions will prevail this week in much of southern California and Arizona, where highs will top out in the 90s. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the snow, rain and sleet that has dragged well into April means money lost for golf courses that have been unable to open. Territory Golf Club director Doug Stang in St. Cloud was asked last week if he'll ever see anything like this spring again: "I don't think so," he said. "This is just too bizarre."


Other chilly April 2013 records, according to AccuWeather and the Weather Channel:

• Both Bismarck, N.D., and Pierre, S.D., had their snowiest Aprils on record.

• International Falls, Minn., recorded a low of just 4 degrees April 20. In records dating to 1897, it had never been this cold before this late in April.

• Baton Rouge: The low temperature bottomed out at 39 degrees on the morning of April 20. This was the lowest temperature ever recorded this far into the spring season.

• Sheridan, Wyo.: Had a bone-chilling low of -1 degree on the morning of April 23.

• Amarillo, Texas: The low temperature dropped to 21 degrees on April 24. This is the coldest Amarillo has been this late in the season in records dating to 1892.
• Fargo, N.D.: The first 50-degree or higher temperature reading of the year occurred April 26. Previously, since 1881, Fargo had never had to wait past April 17 to get at least one 50-degree day.
- USA Today.


Snowstorm, Dramatic Change to Cold In Store For Denver.
Elementary school students are dropped off at class as a Spring storm dropped snow over Boulder, Colo., Tuesday April 23, 2013. The National Weather Service says most of the Denver metro area will end up with 3 to 6 inches of snow through early Tuesday. Up to 10 inches of show is expected in the central mountains. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says avalanche danger there is considerable. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Another blast of cold air will charge southward across the Plains this week, which will lead to more spring snow for Denver.  With daytime highs in the 80s expected through Monday, new residents and visitors in Denver are in for a shock.  The combination of the cold air, the right wind direction and a storm tracking just to the south will set up a snow situation for Denver and vicinity late Tuesday into Wednesday.  Enough snow can fall to make for slushy and difficult travel conditions along stretches of I-25, I-70 and I-80 in the region. However, there is the potential for enough snow to fall to shut down some sections of these highways.  AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Erik Pindrock said, "Our forecast tools are showing temperatures falling into 30s across the Denver area by Wednesday morning. The cold air combined with an east wind flowing up the mountains could lead to more accumulating snow in the city and the mountains. If everything comes together, the mountains to the west of Denver could receive a foot or more of snow on Wednesday," Pindrock said. "Denver averages about 1.3 inches of snow during the month of May, which means that snowfall this time of year isn't rare."





Just like snow is no stranger in May in Denver, often it will warm up quite a bit ahead of most snowstorms throughout the fall, winter and spring. Other cities in the region that will receive snow include Cheyenne and Casper, Wyo., Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colo., and North Platte and Scottsbluff, Neb. As the storm rolls out from the Rockies, it may continue to produce a swath of heavy snow from portions of eastern Nebraska to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan. If all the right pieces were to fall into place, some communities over the central Plains that rarely get a foot of snow from a storm in January, may be digging out from a foot of snow by the end of the week. While such a storm is more common in Denver and the High Plains, such an event is increasingly more rare farther east and over lower elevations in the region. The storm would be hitting these areas on May 2 and 3. AccuWeather.com will continue to provide updates on the snowstorm, return of cold air to the Plains and any severe weather and flooding consequences farther to the east in the Central states. - AccuWeather.


Strong Cold Front Will Plunge Temperature Drops By 60+ Degrees Across The Midwest.
If you are a fan of extreme weather patterns, then this is your kind of week.  A strong cold front plunging south across the nation's midsection will result in temperature drops of 60+ degrees in some cities! Snow is also in the forecast for parts of the central states. Let's look at a few of the extreme temperature swings that we will see in this first week of May.

WATCH: May Cold Blast Coming?




Lubbock, Texas - Forecast to reach a near-record high in the middle 90s on Tuesday. Temperatures will plummet around 60 degrees to the middle 30s by Thursday morning. Another of the many reasons Lubbock won our 2013 Toughest Weather City Tournament.

Lubbock's neighbors to the north, Amarillo, and south, Midland, will see similar changes from sweltering 90s on Monday and Tuesday to jacket weather Thursday and Friday morning. It's not just the Texas Panhandle that will see mammoth temperature changes this week. Many more cities from the south-central states to the Upper Midwest will also feel the change.


Back to Winter in the Midwest

Minneapolis - The 70+ degree temperatures we've seen since this past Friday were nice while they lasted. Highs in the 40s and even upper 30s are expected Wednesday through Friday. Some snow is possible as well.
Kansas City - After highs in the low 80s Monday and Tuesday, you'll be grabbing a jacket with temperatures failing to get out of the 40s late in the week.
Chicago - Could potentially see its first 80-degree day of the year Tuesday, then it's back to highs in the 50s.
Des Moines, Iowa - Will only see highs in the low to middle 40s at the end of the week after a few days in the 70s to start the week.


South-Central Region Changes

Oklahoma City - Will go from highs in the middle to upper 80s on Monday and Tuesday to not getting out of the 50s on Thursday.
Dallas - From the middle and upper 80s on Monday and Tuesday to morning temperatures in the 40s Thursday into Friday.
Wichita, Kan. - After 80s on Monday and Tuesday, temperatures will not get out of the 50s Wednesday into Thursday. - The Weather Channel.



WAR DRUMS: A Very Thin Red Line - Obama Tells Putin Of Concern Over Syrian Chemical Arms As 'US Mulls Way To Hit Syria Chemical Weapons Sites'; Al-Qaeda's Battle For Control Of Assad's Chemical Weapons Plant Site; 'Missiles Fired At' Russian Plane With 159 Passengers Onboard Flying Over Syria; Syrian Prime Minister Survives Deadly Damascus Bombing, Six Die!

April 30, 2013 - SYRIA - US President Barack Obama has voiced concern to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about reports that Syria has used chemical weapons. 




Obama Tells Putin Of Concern Over Syrian Chemical Arms.
President Obama has pledged to investigate claims
that Syria has used chemical weapons
In a phone conversation, the two leaders agreed to stay in touch on the issue, tasking their foreign ministers to hold further talks.  The US earlier said it had "varying degrees of confidence" that chemical weapons had been used in Syria. The government in Damascus have denounced the claims as "lies". In a statement, the White House said on Monday that Mr Obama and Mr Putin talked on the phone on Monday, with the US leader "underscoring his concern over Syrian chemical weapons". 

Washington has repeatedly criticised Russia - along with China - for blocking tougher action against Syria in the UN Security Council, including new sanctions.  Mr Putin and Mr Obama are scheduled to hold a face-to-face talks in June.  Mr Obama last week promised a "vigorous investigation" into the issue.  He warned that it would be a "game changer" for US policy if the reports about chemical weapons were to be proved true.  Both the US and UK have pointed to emerging evidence that Syria has used weapons such as the nerve gas sarin.  The Syrian government has dismissed claims that its forces have used chemical weapons, saying that the Western accusations "do not have any credibility".  More than 70,000 people have been killed since fighting between Syrian forces and rebels erupted in March 2011. - BBC.


'US Mulls Way To Hit Syria Chemical Weapons Sites'.
The Pentagon Photo: Digital Vision
There is increasing speculation that Washington is considering an aerial or sea missile attack on Syrian chemical weapons sites, a CNN correspondent reported on Monday.  The report quoted an anonymous senior administration official as saying, "there is intensified planning in the works." "As the situation in Syria becomes more grave and as we are increasingly concerned about chemical weapons use in Syria, it's the responsibility of the US military to prepare detailed options," the official said.  US President Barack Obama has not asked for the strike options yet, but the Pentagon is preparing all military options, the official continued. Foot troops involvement has been discussed, but a missile strike is a far likelier scenario, even though Syrian chemical stockpiles are constantly moved around the country to avoid being located.  Israel has joined Turkey and Jordan in discussions about possible courses of action if Syria threatens them with the use of chemical weapons, according to the report. 

There is increasing speculation that Washington is considering an aerial or sea missile attack on Syrian chemical weapons sites, a CNN correspondent reported on Monday.  The report quoted an anonymous senior administration official as saying, "there is intensified planning in the works."  "As the situation in Syria becomes more grave and as we are increasingly concerned about chemical weapons use in Syria, it's the responsibility of the US military to prepare detailed options," the official said.  US President Barack Obama has not asked for the strike options yet, but the Pentagon is preparing all military options, the official continued. Foot troops involvement has been discussed, but a missile strike is a far likelier scenario, even though Syrian chemical stockpiles are constantly moved around the country to avoid being located.  Israel has joined Turkey and Jordan in discussions about possible courses of action if Syria threatens them with the use of chemical weapons, according to the report. 

Recently Egyptian and Iranian government officials conducted a meeting to discuss their growing concerns that the US may choose to carry out a military operation in Syria, Arab newspaper 'Al-Akhbar' reported.  "There are serious moves being made by the US that imply an imminent strike on Damascus," the paper quoted a senior Egyptian diplomat as saying.  The diplomat added that there is a general consensus that Israel would likely have a hand in a US military operation in Syria, the report said.

Recently Egyptian and Iranian government officials conducted a meeting to discuss their growing concerns that the US may choose to carry out a military operation in Syria, Arab newspaper 'Al-Akhbar' reported.  "There are serious moves being made by the US that imply an imminent strike on Damascus," the paper quoted a senior Egyptian diplomat as saying.  The diplomat added that there is a general consensus that Israel would likely have a hand in a US military operation in Syria, the report said. - JPOST.


Al-Qaeda's Battle For Control Of Assad's Chemical Weapons Plant.
Set amid the rolling plains outside Aleppo, the town of al-Safira looks just like another vicious battleground in Syria's civil war. On one side are lightly-armed rebels, on the other are government troops, and in between is a hotly-contested no-man's land of bombed-out homes and burned-out military vehicles.  The fight for al-Safira is no ordinary turf war, however, and the prize can be found behind the perimeter walls of the heavily-guarded military base on the edge of town. Inside what looks like a drab industrial estate is one of Syria's main facilities for producing chemical weapons - and among its products is sarin, the lethal nerve gas that the regime is now feared to be deploying in its bid to cling to power.  Last week, Washington said for the first time that it had evidence of Sarin being used in "small" amounts during combat operations in Syria, a move that President Barack Obama has long warned is a "red line" that President Bashar al-Assad must not cross.  But as the West now ponders its response, the fear is not just that President Assad might start using his chemical arsenal in much greater quantities. Of equal concern is the prospect of it falling into even less benign hands - a risk that the stand-off at al Safira illustrates clearly.

 For among the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda. Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq, they are now taking the lead in nearly every frontline in the Syrian war, and earlier this month, pushed to within just over a mile of al-Safira, only to for the Syrian troops to regain the ground last week.  Should the tide of battle turn in al-Nusra's favour again, though, there is the possibility of the West's worst-case scenario unfolding - Syria's weapons of mass destruction falling into al-Qaeda's control. More than 500 times as toxic as cyanide and deadly in milligram-sized doses, a single canister of sarin could unleash carnage if released on a Tube network in London or New York.  Such grim possibilities are now uppermost in the minds of Western officials as they try to work out how to prevent Syria's vast chemical stockpiles being unleashed, be it by President Assad on his own people, or by his more extreme opponents on the outside world.  Yet it is not just at al-Safira that the danger lies. As the Syrian uprising has intensified in the past year, the regime has been secretly moving its stockpiles to weapons dumps all over the country, much of which it barely controls anymore. Nobody knows, therefore, when or where a cache might be captured by the opposition's more militant factions. 


A location widely reported as a chemical weapons facility in Al Safirah Photo: Getty Images

"The West may be saying: 'A red line has been crossed, let's do something'. But the question is what exactly can they do?" said Dina Esfandiary, an expert on Syria's WMD programme with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the London-based defence and security think-tank. "Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons are huge, and President Assad has done a very good job of hiding them all over the country."  The Syrian regime's chemical warchest is indeed vast - the biggest in the Middle East, and the fourth largest in the world. Started in the 1970s ranks with help from Syria's Cold War sponsor, Russia, today its programme includes facilities for making mustard gas, sarin and another nerve agent, VX, which stays lethal for much longer after dispersal.  In charge of the programme is the innocuous-sounding Scientific Studies and Research Centre outside Damascus, a body officially tasked with academic research. In practice, it reports directly to President Assad and operates a string of chemical production facilities, some allegedly developed with help from Iran and North Korea.  As Syria has not signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention, it has never declared details of its stockpiles to the outside world. But outside intelligence estimates reckon that Damascus has between 100 and 200 warheads filled with sarin for its Scud missiles, and thousands of chemical artillery bombs filled with sarin and VX.  Nobody outside the Assad regime now knows for certain where the stockpiles are now: the contents of the plant at Safira, for example, may have been moved to other, more secret storage spaces for safekeeping. But that uncertainty adds to the challenge. With such a vast arsenal scattered nationwide, the West would face a formidable task were it to attempt to secure it by force.

 In December, the Pentagon told the Obama administration that it would require upward of 75,000 troops - almost half the number it took to topple Saddam Hussein. Such numbers would amount to an invasion in everything but name, and would doubtless attract hostility from both of Syria's warring sides.  An alternative would be smaller, ad hoc strikes of the sort that Israel has already admitted to doing to stop the weapons falling into the hands of its Lebanon-based enemy Hezbollah, whose Assad-backed fighters are now in Syria helping defend the regime. But these would not be practical for a large-scale neutralisation of the country's chemical threat, according to Ms Esfandiary.  "Airstrikes aren't reliable because they can just release all the chemical agents into the air," she said. "Alternatively, they only do half the job and then render a secure site open to looters."  Nor, she added, would quick-fire raids by small teams of special forces be an alternative. "You would have to first secure the sites and then do a careful analysis of what was there, followed by controlled explosions. It is, frankly, a labour intensive job, and that is why the Pentagon assessed it as requiring 75,000 men.  "Besides, there may be any number of caches hidden all over the place, and even if you could look for them properly - which is difficult with a civil war going on - you would run the risk of some being left behind." 

Not all the sites represent a genuine danger. Some store only the basic component chemicals, which must be mixed first before being weaponised, processes which require technical know-how. But others have cannisters full of battle-ready nerve agents, which could be operated in crude fashion simply by breaking them open.  "They might not be quite as effective in amateur hands, but the fact is that they are containers full of very nasty stuff, and if they were opened on a Tube train it would very dangerous," said Ms Esfandiary. "As an instrument of terror, they also have a fear factor that more conventional weapons don't have."  Despite that, many analysts believe that the "red line" is now simply being blurred rather than crossed. With only limited evidence of Sarin use so far, they suspect Damascus is deliberately using such weapons just occasionally to test - and gradually undermine - Washington's resolve. President Assad, they reason, knows all too well that a major chemical attack would leave the US no option but to take action. But successive, smaller ones are a harder call, while still having the desired effect of spreading terror among Damascus's foes.  Outside of Syria, it also has another desired effect - underlining the differences between Mr Assad's opponents in the West. Last week, the hawkish US Republican senator, John McCain, who lost to Mr Obama in the 2008 presidential race, called on America to send in troops to secure factories such as al Safira. But Mr Obama shows no enthusiasm for doing so, and this weekend he even appeared to adjust his language slightly, saying that America would not permit the "systematic" use of chemical weapons. Critics pointed out that proscribing the use of chemical weapons on a "systematic" basis is not the same as proscribing their use altogether. Yesterday, the Syrian information minister, Omran al-Zohbi, described the US claims of chemical weapons use as a "barefaced lie", insisting that for both legal and "moral" reasons, Damascus would never deploy them. But with Syria's civil war escalating daily, nobody - least of all a Syrian government minister - can guarantee that al Safira's deadly concoctions will remain safe forever. - Telegraph.


'Missiles Fired At' Russian Plane With 159 Passengers Onboard Flying Over Syria.
Two missiles were reportedly fired at a Russian plane with at least 159 passengers on board that was flying over Syrian territory. Russian officials admit the jet faced danger, but are not talking of a targeted attack. The news broke in on Monday as Interfax, citing “an informed source in Moscow,” reported that a Russian passenger plane was attacked. “Syrian [officials] informed us that on Monday morning, unidentified forces launched two ground-to-air missiles which exploded in the air very close to a civilian aircraft belonging to a Russian airline,” the source told the Russian agency. The pilots reportedly managed to maneuver the plane in time however, “saving the lives of passengers.” It is believed the aircraft was intentionally targeted, “but it remains unclear whether the attackers knew it was Russian or not,” the source added. However, Russian officials, though admitting the plane might have been endangered, are not yet talking of a targeted attack.




The Russian Foreign Ministry’s said on its website the plane’s crew at 4.55 PM Moscow time (12.55 GMT) “detected battle action on the ground that, according to the crew, could constitute a threat to the 159 passengers on board the plane.” The Russian Foreign Ministry is now “taking emergency measures to clarify all the circumstances of this situation, including making contact with the Syrian authorities,” the ministry’s spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich said.

The plane that was allegedly targeted belonged to Nordwind Airlines – a Russian charter air carrier – and was identified as an Airbus A320. On April 29 it was en route to the city of Kazan, in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan, from Egypt's resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. So far, there are no grounds to claim that the aircraft became a target of a missile attack, experts say. It was flying over a mountainous area in Syria when one of the pilots noticed “flashes on the ground.” After that, to keep safe, it was decided to increase the height of the flight, Irina Tyurina, a spokeswoman for Russian Union of Tourist Industry told RIA Novosti. “No one was injured, and the plane was not damaged. The aircraft landed in Kazan as had been planned,” the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism told news agencies. There were 159 passengers and eight crew members on-board the aircraft. Meanwhile, Syrian aviation authorities received no indication of the alleged attack on the Russian plane, says the director of Syrian Airlines, Ghaida Abdullatif:

WATCH: Russian passenger jet carrying 160 evades 'signs of war' over Syria.




We contacted the service that monitors traffic within Syrian airspace. None of the air traffic control services or other ground services at the airports in Damascus and Latakia have confirmed the information of a Russian plane being fired at". Russian experts have already voiced their doubts that a passenger plane can actually perform the kind of maneuvers that would allow it to avoid a missile attack. “Planes are usually attacked either from the side or from above. A pilot could not have seen the missiles ,” Vladimir Gerasimov, a Russian pilot and an expert on flight security told RT.  “A passenger plane crew simply couldn’t see what’s behind. And if something is approaching the plane from the opposite direction – the speed doubles, so there is no time to do anything, ” he added. The civil war in Syria between the government of President Bashar Assad and opposition forces has been raging for over two years, claiming the lives of more than 70,000 people according to UN estimates. Assad says he is fighting an insurgency that has been sponsored from abroad. - RT.


Syrian Prime Minister Survives Damascus Bombing, Six Die.
People stand near debris and a damaged vehicle after an explosion at al-Mezze neighbourhood in Damascus April 29, 2013, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout
Syria's prime minister survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Damascus on Monday, as rebels struck in the heart of President Bashar al-Assad's capital.  Six people were killed in the blast, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Previous rebel attacks on government targets included a December bombing which wounded Assad's interior minister.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing, which he described as a "terrorist attack."  As prime minister, Wael al-Halki wields little power but the attack highlighted the rebels' growing ability to target symbols of Assad's authority in a civil war that, according to the U.N., has cost more than 70,000 lives.  Assad picked Halki in August to replace Riyadh Hijab, who defected and escaped to neighboring Jordan just weeks after a bombing killed four of the president's top security advisers.  Monday's blast shook the Mezze district soon after 9 a.m. (2.00 a.m. EDT), sending thick black smoke into the sky. The Observatory said one man accompanying Halki was killed as well as five passers-by. 

WATCH:  Deadly Blast - Car bomb hits Damascus school, targets Syrian PM.




State television showed firemen hosing down the charred and mangled remains of a car. Close by was a large white bus, its windows blown out and its seats gutted by fire. Glass and debris were scattered across several lanes of a main road.  "Dr. Wael al-Halki is well and not hurt at all," state television said.  It later broadcast footage of Halki, who appeared composed and unruffled, chairing what it said was an economic committee.  In comments released by the state news agency SANA but not shown on television, Halki was quoted as condemning the attack as a sign of "bankruptcy and failure of the terrorist groups", a reference to the rebels battling to overthrow Assad.  Mezze is part of a shrinking "Square of Security" in central Damascus, where many government and military institutions are based and where senior officials live.  Sheltered for nearly two years from the destruction ravaging much of the rest of Syria, it has been sucked into violence as rebel forces based to the east of the capital launch mortar attacks and carry out bombings in the center.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS 
Assad has lost control of large areas of northern and eastern Syria, faces a growing challenge in the southern province of Deraa, and is battling rebels in many cities.  But his forces have been waging powerful ground offensives, backed by artillery and air strikes, against rebel-held territory around the capital and near the central city of Homs which links Damascus to the heartland of Assad's minority Alawite sect in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean.  As part of that counter-offensive, Assad's forces probably used chemical weapons, the United States and Britain have said.  However, the trans-Atlantic allies, whose 2003 invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was based in part on flawed intelligence about an Iraqi program of weapons of mass destruction, have been cautious in their accusations.  Ban said on Monday that investigators have been gathering and analyzing available information on alleged chemical attacks in Syria, but full access to the war-torn country is essential for a "credible and comprehensive inquiry.  Assad's government has refused to give the U.N. inspection team the kind of unfettered access inside Syria that Ban is demanding. As a result, the team has yet to deploy to Syria.  A Western diplomat said British officials had shown the head of the U.N. inspection team, Ake Sellstrom of Sweden, evidence on which London based its assertion that there was "limited but growing" evidence of chemical weapons use - possibly the nerve agent sarin - by Syrian troops.  But Sellstrom found the evidence inconclusive, said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.  President Barack Obama repeated U.S. concerns about Syrian chemical weapons in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, the White House said, adding that the two leaders agreed to stay in contact.  The United States is trying to determine the facts around alleged Syrian use of chemical weapons. Last week U.S. officials said they had "varying degrees of confidence" that such weapons were used in Syria, which if proven with certainty could trigger unspecified U.S. action against the Syrian government.  Despite congressional pressure to do more to help the rebels, the U.S. president has made clear he is in no rush to intervene on the basis of preliminary evidence.  A U.N. team of experts has been waiting to travel to Syria to gather field evidence, but has yet to win agreement from Syrian authorities who want it to investigate only government accusations of chemical weapon use by rebels in Aleppo province.  Russia, which has criticized Western and Gulf Arab support for the anti-Assad fighters, said that attempts by Western countries to expand the U.N. inquiry to cover rebel accusations of Syrian government use of chemicals in Homs and Damascus mounted to a pretext to intervene in the civil war.  The U.N. said in February that around 70,000 people had been killed in Syria's conflict. Since then activists have reported daily death tolls of between 100 and 200.  Five million people have fled their homes, including 1.4 million refugees in nearby countries, and financial losses are estimated at many tens of billions of dollars.  The Beirut-based U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimates that 400,000 houses have been completely destroyed, 300,000 partially destroyed and a further half million have suffered some kind of structural damage. - Reuters.

WATCH:  RT's CrossTalk - Syrian Tipping Point?






ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Russian Scientist Warns Mini-Ice Age Has Started As The Start Of 2013 Is Now The Coldest In 208 Years; Indicating That We Are Now On An "Unavoidable Advance Towards A Deep Temperature Drop"!

April 30, 2013 - EARTH - As the UK shudders under temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Celsius below normal levels for this time of year a Russian scientist has repeated warnings that we are heading for a mini Ice Age.


Poster from the movie The Day After Tomorrow.


The Met Office has warned that temperatures will remain below average until about 20 April nit just here but in the rest of the world.

German meteorologists say that the start of 2013 is now the coldest in 208 years - and now German media has quoted Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov from the St. Petersburg Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory as showing it is proof as he said earlier that we are heading for a "Mini Ice Age."

Talking to German media the scientist who first made his prediction in 2005 said that after studying sunspots and their relationship with climate change on Earth, we are now on an "unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop."

Building on observations made by English astronomer Walter Maunder, Dr Abdussamatov, said he had found that the Earth cools and warms in a 200-year cycles.

The last big freeze known as the Little Ice Age was between 1650 and 1850 which he said coincided with Maunder’s findings that there had been no sunspots between 1645 and 1715.

Writing in his blog, Abdussamatov said: "The last global decrease of temperature (the most cold phase of the Little Ice Age) was observed not only in Europe, North America and Greenland, but also in any other part of the world during the Maunder minimum of sunspot activity and of the total solar irradiance in 1645–1715 years.

"All channels in the Netherlands were frozen, glaciers were on the advance in Greenland and people were forced to leave their settlements, inhabited for several centuries.

"The Thames river in London and Seine in Paris were frozen over every year. Humanity has always been prospering during the warm periods and suffering during the cold ones. The climate has never been and will never be stable."

His warning that cold weather would hit prosperity follows news that Britain is heading for an unprecedented triple-dip recession as economists warned that the severe weather gripping much of Britain threatened a second successive quarter of falling national output.

Just days after the chancellor predicted that the UK would narrowly avoid a second successive quarter of negative growth – the official definition of recession – experts warned that the combination of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures might be a crucial factor in whether the economy expanded in the first three months of 2013.

Now the Russian scientists says the new mini Ice Age will begin next year and will last for 200 years.

"The tendency of decrease in the global Earth temperature started in 2006–2008 will temporarily pause in 2010–2012.

"The increase in TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) within a short 11-year cycle 24 is expected to temporarily compensate the decrease in TSI within the ongoing 2-century variation.

Only the decrease in TSI within the ongoing 11-year cycle 24 accompanied by continued decrease of its 2-century component in 2013–2015 will lead to stable subsequent cooling of our planet, which is expected to reach its minimum in the phase of a deep cooling by 2055–2060.

"The cooling can be similar to the one observed in the whole Europe, North America and Greenland in 1645–1715 in the period of Maunder minimum of solar luminosity and sunspot activity when the temperature will fall by 1–1.5 Celsius degrees down to the mark of the so-called Maunder minimum.

"The regular period of climatic minimum (the stage of global cooling) will last for approximately 45–65 years and the new warming will eventually come afterwards within the regular 2-century solar cycle.

"The deep cooling is expected to be regularly replaced by warming only by the beginning of 22nd century.

"A forecast of the global cooling by the middle of the 21st century and of the new 200-year cycle followed by global warming in the beginning of the 22nd century is shown on the figure." - German Herald.





GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mt. Etna Puts On Another Spectacular Display - Erupts For The 13th Time This Year With Lava Flows And Lava Fountains From The Active New Southeast Crater!

April 30, 2013 - ITALY - Over the weekend, Etna let loose yet another impressive volley. This time, we were treated to both lava flows and lava fountains from the very active New Southeast Crater.


A webcam capture of the April 27-28, 2013 eruption at Italy’s Etna. On the right, you can see what might be a small pyroclastic flow generated by the activity. Image: Webcam capture by Eruptions reader Mafia.

Videographer Turi Caggegi captured this new eruption in marvelous high definition — he’s captured a multitude of Etna eruptions on video (along with a host of other natural phenomena).

Etna had experienced a week’s worth of smaller Strombolian explosions since the last paroxysm, but the events of April 28 produced 300-500 meter lava fountains along with lava flows that headed north and south from the New Southeast Crater.

WATCH: Video of the April 27-28, 2013 eruption of Etna. Used by permission from Turi Caggegi.




The explosivity of the enough to generate an ash plume (see below) that dusted Linguaglossa, Taormina and Messina (upwards of 60 km away) and temporarily closed the airport in Catania.

WATCH: Video of the April 27-28, 2013 eruption of Etna. Used by permission from Dr. Boris Behncke, INGV.




Dr. Boris Behncke from the Osservatorio Etneo also filmed some of the action, so be sure to check out his videos of the vigorous lava fountains during this paroxysm (defined as periods of lava fountaining; see video after the jump), including some impressive footage that shows the pulsing nature of the explosions as bubbles burst in the active crater.

With the high level of activity at Etna over the first 4 months of 2013 — 13 paroxysms and counting — it is always a good idea to keep an eye on some of the webcams pointed at the volcano. You never know when you might catch the next eruption already in progress. - WIRED.



ICE AGE NOW: Spain's Spring Snow - Unseasonably Cold Weather Hits The Iberian Peninsula With Heavy Rain And Snow, Blocking Roads!

April 30, 2013 - SPAIN - While the eastern Mediterranean has been enjoying a taste of summer with temperatures approaching 30 Celsius, further west it has been a very different story.


Temperatures were low enough to produce significant snowfall, with the northern Asturias province worst hit [AFP]

An area of low pressure, that had its origins over North Africa, has moved across the Mediterranean Sea, into the Iberian Peninsula.

It has brought thick cloud and heavy rain. Combined with cold air from the Alps which has been drawn in from the northeast, temperatures have been dragged down to well below the late April average.

The whole of the peninsula has been affected. Holidaymakers hoping to escape chilly weather in more northern parts of Europe will have been disappointed to find the Algarve of Portugal and the Spanish Costas all experiencing overcast, wet weather with temperatures lower than in their home countries.

In the nation’s capital, Madrid, where temperatures can be expected to reach 20C in late April, the mercury reached just 8C on Sunday after an overnight minimum of 2C, the lowest since 2001.

Even as far north as Barcelona, temperatures have been as much as six to seven degrees below average.

In some areas temperatures were low enough to produce significant snowfall, with the Asturias region in the north being particularly badly affected. A snow depth of 18cm was reported at the ski resort of Navacerrada, in the Sistema Central mountains, northwest of Madrid.

During Monday, 26 provinces were subject to bad weather alerts. Snowploughs were deployed to keep motorways open and the emergency services warned against all unnecessary travel.

It is expected that the precipitation will die out over the next day or two and temperatures will return to normal, and it could turn out to be a warm weekend in southern areas. - Aljazeera.

WATCH: Spain has been struck by unseasonal weather which has seen snow falling across the country. Extreme weather warnings are in place in 18 provinces, with small roads blocked as temperatures continue to hover around freezing. The BBC's Simon McCoy reports.