News

Why researching an Antarctic ice shelf could find Endurance

Posted on: April 12, 2018

Next year, a new expedition to the Antarctic will have an unusual dual objective. On the one hand, its main goal is to visit and study the Larsen C Ice Shelf which, last July, calved one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded in Antarctica. But it is also going to search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated explorer ship Endurance. 

Role of large ice shelves
The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 will travel to Larsen C, one of the largest ice shelves in Antarctica, to carry out a series of geophysical measurements to establish if, and when, more icebergs will form from ice break-ups, 

More icebergs in the Antarctic
Larsen C is the floating extension of glaciers that have flowed off the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula and joined together to form one giant buoyant platform. Its northern neighbours, Larsen A and Larsen B, suffered catastrophic break-ups in 1995 and 2002 respectively, that hastened the movement of the glaciers behind, allowing them to dump yet more of their ice into the ocean, rai

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The true cost of potholes caused by snow and ice

Posted on: March 26, 2018

The damage that snow and ice can do to our roads and footpaths is now getting more attention than ever. In what has become an annual event in the media, the post-winter pothole count has reached fever-pitch as the state of Britain’s roads deteriorates.

Recent snow and ice have created millions of new potholes
The recent visits to these shores of the Beast from the East I & II, with their sub-zero temperatures, biting winds, heavy snowfalls and ice, has eroded many of the country’s roads, pavements and car parks to leave them littered with huge potholes.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance has warned that 20% of roads in England and Wales have less than five years’ life before they become unstable. That is the equivalent of 40,000 miles of road.

Pothole funding black hole
It is estimated that there was a £556m funding gap in 2017/18 for local authorities to keep carriageways in reasonable order. Although the Government has pledged £100m more funding to help repair the roads which, it is esti

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No business like snow business

Posted on: March 7, 2018

With The Shape of Water winning best film at the Oscars on Sunday, it has been water in the shape of snow that has been the big blockbuster in the UK this last week. But as temperatures pick up and the Beast from the East retreats to its lair, it is time to review the damage the snow and ice have caused.

Snow damage to cars
It is estimated that drivers in the UK have filed insurance claims worth more than 17m pounds since the snow hit. Crash damage claims were double what they are in a normal week. The winter weather led to 13,100 collisions, according to the AA, which is twice what insurers would usually expect for the last week of February.

The most common claim was for drivers skidding out and hitting objects like barriers, kerbs, road signs and bus shelters. One motorist even ended up sliding into a row of shops. While the majority of incidents attributed to the snow caused relatively minor damage, as many as 21 per cent of claims saw the car involved unable to drive away from the scene.

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Beast from the East bringing freezing Siberian weather to the UK

Posted on: February 21, 2018

A rare North Pole phenomenon, known as the "Beast from the East", is forecast to bring a prolonged spell of very cold weather to Britain that could last into March. 

Bitterly cold Siberian air
It’s caused by a ‘sudden stratospheric warming’ when the polar vortex jet stream in the upper atmosphere is disrupted. A huge rise in air temperature in the stratosphere, 18 miles above the North Pole, has disturbed the way that the pool of air moves around it, resulting in bitterly cold air sweeping in from Siberia, signalling a prolonged spell of cold weather.
 
Threat of disruptive snow
Even though Spring is on its way, winter is far from over. The mercury is expected to fall steadily over the coming days, with snow and icy conditions forecast for large swathes of the country next week. Easterly winds are expected to develop, dragging in very cold air from Siberia with a wind chill of -4C bringing with it an increasing threat of disruptive snow. 

Colder than Iceland

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Who will win gold for Team GB on the snow and ice of Pyeongchang

Posted on: February 13, 2018

With Britain enjoying sub-zero temperatures at night and parts of the country covered in a dusting of snow, it’s getting us in the mood for the Winter Olympics that has just started in Pyeongchang in South Korea.
And there are five Britons that have a realistic chance of getting amongst the medals, maybe even a gold.

The skeleton ice rocket - Lizzy Yarnold
Team GB was led out at the opening ceremony by skeleton competitor Lizzy Yarnold. The 29-year-old is one of the British athletes gunning for gold and she’s bidding to become the first Brit to retain a Winter Olympic title. She won gold in Sochi but has struggled for form this season. 

The ice-track thunderbolt - Elise Christie
Christie can dominate the short-track speed skating. She goes in the 1,000m and 1500m — where she is world champion for both — and also the 500m, for which she holds the world record.  

The snow style-monster - James Woods
The skier can win gold or be out of

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Icy winds set to hit the UK to send feels like temperatures plunging

Posted on: January 31, 2018

The departing Storm Georgina battered parts of Britain with ferocious winds and pelting rain. And now, in its wake, comes a cold plunge with temperatures dropping to minus four degrees. And with winds likely to remain strong, when combined with the prevailing sub-zero air, it will mean it will feel a lot colder. 

Forecasting the feels like temperature
Nowadays, many forecasts and weather apps will give you a feels like temperature as well as the real air temperature to help you work out what it will feel like to be outside and help you to decide what to wear.

Factoring in the wind and humidity 
A feels like temperature takes into account wind speeds and humidity to assess how the human body actually feels temperature.  So, in winter, a strong wind can feel much colder than the measured temperature would indicate. Conversely, on a humid day in summer, it can feel uncomfortably warmer than the air temperature would suggest. 

Calculating the feels like temperature

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Five things to know about snow

Posted on: January 17, 2018

With a yellow warning about the snow that’s forecast to fall this week in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England we thought it would be interesting to share with you five facts about snow you might not have known.

It doesn't have to be freezing to snow
Generally, the air temperature does need to be at, or below, freezing for snow to fall. If rain falls persistently through air with a temperature of up to 6°C for a long period, it can cause the air temperature to fall low enough for the rain to turn to snow. 

Every snowflake is unique
Part of the enduring appeal of snowflakes is their intricate appearance and huge variation. The number of possible combinations of temperature and humidity as the snowflake falls to the ground is limitless and means each one is unique. If you look closely at a snowflake you will see countless individual features, all having formed differently in direction or shape.

Snow isn't white
While snowflakes appear white as

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Why Santa chooses a sleigh for his epic Christmas Eve trip

Posted on: December 19, 2017

It’s now only a few days to go before Santa Claus sets out on his epic trip around the world bringing joy to all the children, well those that have been good of course. But is a sleigh the right mode of transport for such a huge trip?

Suited to the snow of Lapland
As we know, Santa lives in a secret location in the snowy landscapes of Lapland inside the Arctic Circle. So, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that Santa is well acquainted with a sleigh. After all, we know a sleigh works well on snow especially when it’s going downhill. 
And for the flatter or uphill bits of his journey Santa has thought ahead and used the best reindeer in the land to pull the sleigh at high speed through the snow. So far, so good.

A smooth ride to keep the toys safe
Another thing in favour of the sleigh is that it moves smoothly over the snow without any bumps, meaning that the piles of toys won’t get dislodged, or worse, fall out! And there are plenty of countries around the world where it’s winter

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Britons hit the ice

Posted on: December 12, 2017

Whilst Britain itself falls behind the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites when it comes to experiencing extreme snow and ice, its natives have certainly punched above their weight when it comes to excelling at winter sports.

The haul of medals collected from recent Winter Olympics is admirable considering the lack of facilities in this country.

Ice skating champions
In the modern era it all started when John Curry won the Men’s Figure Skating crown at the 1976 Innsbruck Games and was quickly followed by Robin Cousins in 1980 who repeated the feat at the Lake Placid Olympics. 

Ice perfection
And then it was the turn of ice dancers Torvill and Dean who achieved gold at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo with a never-seen-before perfect 6.0 score from every judge for their ‘Bolero’ routine.

Skeleton on ice
More recently Britain’s women have achieved great success on the hard ice of the skeleton run. It started in 2002 when Alex Coomber w

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UK may be set for a White Christmas

Posted on: November 27, 2017

Yes it’s that time of year again when the bookies publish their odds for a White Christmas but this year it looks like there might be a good chance that snow will fall in the UK on Christmas Day.

Colder than Antarctica
That’s because forecasters are predicting a winter that’s colder than Antarctica with temperatures falling to as low as -10C. Whereas temperatures of -6C are predicted for Antarctica, four degrees warmer than the climate expected in England.

La Nina brings snow
Low temperatures, frost and snow are expected to hit that nation resulting in significant snow depths in the hills of Scotland and the north that will continue into 2018.

And, the chances of a White Christmas have increased due to the La Nina effect - a process that sees reduced sea surface temperature, bringing in colder air that will kickstart a fierce winter.

With this weather phenomenon kicking in over the North Atlantic, it is expected to be colder in this country than avera

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