News

91 new volcanoes discovered below ice in Antarctica

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica – which could have an impact on climate change.

Melting ice leading to rising sea levels
The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic Ocean could trigger sea level rises.

As tall as the Eiger
Edinburgh University researchers, have found almost 100 volcanoes that were previously unknown, with the highest as tall as the Eiger mountain in Switzerland, which stands at almost 4,000 metres. Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

The big question is: how active

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An ice way to enjoy the summer

Posted on: August 1, 2017

With the summer holidays now in full flow and warm sunny days to be enjoyed, whether at home or abroad, it’s time to focus on staying cool. And what better way to do that than through an ice lolly or ice cream? But it seems like there’s more to the ice products than meets the eye.

Young men are the biggest consumers of ice cream
Contrary to what you might think, it’s young men (16-24 year olds) who are the UK’s biggest consumers of ice cream. According to Mintel research last year, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) typically eat ice cream, at least once a week, compared to 46% of women in the same age bracket. As a nation we love ice cream - only 1 in 20 (5%) say they never eat it – but the biggest global consumer is China which gets through 4.3bn litres a year. However, it’s the Norwegians who eat the most per head with each person eating on average 9.8 litres a year.

Healthy ice cream on the way
Although ice cream remains popular, global sales have decreased from 15.6bn litres in 2015 to 13bn in 2016, pro

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Snowy mountains of the Tour de France #TDF

Posted on: July 11, 2017

With the Tour de France (#TDF) in its second week now, things are beginning to hot up in the overall General Classification but the temperature could be about to cool down! That’s because the Grand Tour is going to hit its first set of proper mountains in this year’s race with Thursday’s stage entering the Pyrenees.

#TdF is usually associated with baking temperatures and sweat-drenched riders pummelling along the French highways at 50kmh (30mph). But, we are likely to see snow, ice and falling temperatures as the riders ascend the very high mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps.

Pau to Peyragudes


Riders will have to complete 214km (128 miles) on Thursday’s stage, from Pau to Peyragudes, which contains an extremely difficult sequence of climbs. First there’s the climb up to the Col de Menté, then the Port de Balès and finally the real agony for the legs in the final climb to Peyragudes. In the final kilometre, on the runway of the only airport of the Pyrenees, will be a section of road with a 16% incline – to reall

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Keeping ice cool at #Wimbledon

Posted on: July 4, 2017

The All England Championships at #Wimbledon is set, as usual, to experience a wide variety of weather over its two weeks’ duration. It’s already seen thunder and lightning, rain and blazing sun - not a surprise really for a British summer!

Although hail (or ice in any form) isn’t forecast, ice can play an important role in keeping the top players, officials and spectators cool on the really hot days.
 
Here are just a few examples that the tennis pros use that might help you too, whether you’re off to the courts or just the office:

Ice on your wrists
Your body has a number of pulse points that are sensitive to the cold - behind your ears, your temples and your wrists. Placing ice, whether in a bag or towel, on these areas will cool down your whole body pretty quickly. In a similar vein, wearing a cold bandana or wrist bands also work well.

Freeze your water bottle overnight
Half-fill your water bottle and stick it in the freezer overnight with the lid o

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All Black and white weather in New Zealand

Posted on: June 20, 2017

Whilst in parts of the UK we have been sweltering in heat of over 30 degrees Celsius, the British and Irish Lions are approaching the First Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park, Auckland with a different set of weather conditions…incessant rain!

Rain in the north snow in the south
Auckland is on the North Island and has a typically British climate. Rain is forecast for Saturday’s match which might suit the Lions’ playing style a little more than that of the All Blacks but both teams will be used to the wet turf.

But in sporting parlance, rather than ‘a game of two halves’, New Zealand could experience ‘weather of two halves’ this week. Whilst Northern parts of the country could be hammered by heavy rain, the south could get snow, in what one forecaster has described as ‘a battle of weather systems’.

Snow is forecast because a low pressure system, bringing periods of rain and strong north-easterly winds, is expected to move south where it will collide with a ridge of hig

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The smell of rain - petrichor

Posted on: June 6, 2017

With warmer weather having arrived in the UK at last, there is still always the chance of rain. And in the summer months there is more of an opportunity to experience the phenomena known as ‘Petrichor’. At its simplest, it’s the smell of rain either as it falls or in anticipation of it falling.

The word comes from the Greek words 'petra' meaning stone and 'ichor' which in Greek mythology refers to the golden fluid that was said to flow through the veins of the gods and the immortals.

What is Petrichor?
The phrase was coined by two researchers at the Australian CSIRO science agency in 1964 article. Their research found that rocks that had been exposed to warm, dry conditions were steam-distilled to reveal a yellow coloured oil that had become trapped in the rocks and soil, a substance they discovered was responsible for the smell. The source of this oil is a combination of oils secreted by plants during dry weather and chemicals released by soil-dwelling bacteria.

How does rain creat

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Ice Watch staff raise money for EACH through car washes and sky diving

Posted on: May 22, 2017

As a gritting and snow clearing company, we‘re used to cleaning things up, which is why we decided to offer residents in Saxmundham the chance to have their cars washed at our Head Office with all the proceeds going to the East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) our company charity. We have a long-standing relationship with EACH, especially its hospice, The Treehouse, in Ipswich.

Cleaning cars in Saxmundham
In the first of our series of car washes that we will be undertaking, we raised £150. We’ll aim to build on that with our other planned car washes at gritting HQ on the Carlton Park Industrial Estate in Saxmundham.

Our programme of car washes is the latest fundraising initiative we have run in support of EACH. 

Skydiving from two miles high
And because our work often means we are dealing with the extremes that the weather can throw at us, five members of staff having taken up an extreme challenge to raise £2,000 by taking part in the Team EACH Skydive at Beccles Airf

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Dangers of thawing permafrost highlighted in global climate change study

Posted on: May 15, 2017

Whilst in this country, frost often means slippery pavements and roads requiring winter gritting, there are occasions when frost can be protective.

Permafrost prevents greenhouse gases being released
A new international research study completed by the universities of Leeds and Exeter in partnership with the Met Office, has found that global warming will thaw about 20% more permafrost than previously thought. Not something for many people to be too worried about you’d think but permafrost actually prevents potentially significant amounts of greenhouse gases being released into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Icy soil containing more carbon than in Earth’s atmosphere
Permafrost is frozen soil that has been at a temperature of below zero degrees Celsius for at least two years. Large quantities of carbon are stored in organic matter trapped in the icy permafrost soils, but when it thaws, the organic matter starts to decompose, releasing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The study re

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Try not to get caught out by unseasonable April showers

Posted on: April 25, 2017

We are used to April showers in this country but maybe not the wintry ones we are experiencing this week.

From dry April to snowy April
An April shower is typically regarded as a heavy downfall during the month which is a result of the position of the jet stream. In early spring, the jet stream starts to move northwards, allowing large depressions to bring strong winds and rain in from the Atlantic.

But having enjoyed one of the driest Aprils on record, this week we are seeing a new twist to the April shower seeing snow showers instead of rain downpours.

Freezing driving conditions
Freezing temperatures and snow are set to hit Britain with a record late April cold snap this week. Thermometers are due to dip to an incredible minus 7 degrees during the early hours of Thursday beating the minus 6 degrees record low for 27 April set in Moray, Scotland, in 1956.

Heavy snow is forecast in Scotland with sleet and hail on the cards as far south as the Midlands, Wal

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Easter weather - more likely to snow than at Christmas

Posted on: April 12, 2017

After the sensationally warm weather last weekend, what will the long Easter weekend have in store for us? Well actually it looks like most of us are going to enjoy a dry and sunny if cool weekend, with very little chance of extreme weather like snow storms, freezing winds or a deluge of rain.

However, because Easter falls on different dates each year weather can vary wildly. Easter Sunday is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. Since 1960, the earliest Easter was over the weekend of the 22-24 March in 2008 and the latest was in 2011 when Easter fell between the 23-25 April.

If Easter is early, there's a chance that some parts of the country will get snow; in fact, it is more likely to snow at Easter than it is at 
Christmas! 

Snowiest Easter
Easter 1983 - 1-3 April - was the snowiest Easter with Scotland, the Midlands and Kent getting up to 10 cm of snow. Snow has fallen at Easter quite regularly in recent years, even in lowland areas.

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