Snow on the beach

Widespread, severe and prolonged cold for the third winter in a row.  According to the Met Office it could last a month. We’ve escaped so far – it’s just foggy tonight.  While we’ve had plenty of snow and cold in the last two winters, it’s still novel to see the Coliseum in Rome surrounded by snow, to see it in Marseille (again after a fall in 2009),  in Algeria and Libya, and see people build a snowman on the beach in Palma, Majorca.

wierd also to see this panorama of Lemnos, Greece, from the highest point looking out from the island to the blue Aegean Sea.

Snow – at sea level – in the Med? It’s not unheard of but it’s not usual. Anyone who attributes this to global warming deserves to be made to eat handfuls of the stuff.

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7 Responses to Snow on the beach

  1. Another Ian says:

    made to each handfuls of the stuff.

    Verity – typo?

    [Reply – fixed thanks! V]

  2. Climate comedy says:

    Yup, all this cold weather is caused by global warming, says ‘climate scientist’ Stefan Rahmstorf.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/science-behind-the-big-freeze-is-climate-change-bringing-the-arctic-to-europe-6358928.html

    • Verity Jones says:

      Actually that’s a pretty good explanation that makes me sound as if I should eat my words. More science here: http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/SPARC/pdfs/25%20Mon/Session%201/4_1_Overland.pdf
      Simple answer – Earth warmed up and the oceans have been transporting heat to the poles. The warm Earth has taken its hat (icecap) off to cool down, so yes, the warmer Arctic creates different winds and pressure systems that push the cold to lower latitudes. The cause is (temporary) global warming/climate change. Earth will cool off, put its ice cap back on and all will stablise, albeit a little cooler. We are only talking fractions of a degree celsius after all.

  3. hengistmcstone says:

    Like it. “Anyone who attributes this to global warming deserves to be made to eat handfuls of the stuff.” May I suggest Prof Judith Curry who does just that in this paper : http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/17/1114910109

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    IMHO the cause is much simpler than the “warm makes cold” line.

    Sun took a nap, mostly showing up as UV plunging. That makes for less energy deposited in the stratosphere and we got a shorter atmosphere. A consequence of that is that mountains now poke up into thinner, colder strata (so lots of ‘high places’ have gotten colder and snowier). A secondary effect is that the Polar Vortex is compressed in height, so has more cold air closer to the ground and has spread out a bit. That puts the AO into a ‘cold mode’ and that puts a load of very cold arctic air blowing down everyones necks… and leads to a ‘loopy jet stream’.

    In the USA, the ‘down loop’ is sending arctic / Canadian air into California (where the Pacific Nortwest all the way down to Souther California have had snow, especially at higher elevations). The “up loop” is over the east coast, so they have been getting warm tropical air sucked up over them (thus the warm temps). Europe is where there is another ‘down’ loop… so you are getting snow.

    It has nothing to do with any ‘back radiation’ or ‘global warming’ or any of that. Just atmospheric hight and greater wind speeds in the shortened air column. Driven by solar UV changes.

    Nice collection of snow pics, in either case 😉

  5. Verity Jones says:

    @Hengist
    at the risk of sounding like l’m recanting, I don’t so much have a problem with people saying Europe is cold because of the currently warm Arctic and lack of ice in the Arctic (that some
    then attribute to CAGW), What really gets to me is that people saying that cold winters in Europe will be the new normal because of it. Judith’s paper (from what I read on her blog) is more about explaining than projecting and I can live with the explanation because the physical and meteorological basis of it works.

    In the longer term (next few years to decade) I quite expect that the current warmth in the Arctic will dissipate (rapidly), ice will recover and we’ll see cold Arctic and cold Europe.

    @EM
    Your explanation works too. In fact as explanations go I’d say ‘all of the above’ apply in some shape or form.

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