News

When thawing between USA and Russia is a bad thing

Posted on: May 9, 2018

We normally welcome news of a thawing in the icy relationship between the USA and Russia but when it is a major thawing of the ice in the Bering Sea which divides the eastern most tip of Russia with the US state of Alaska it is a seriously worrying matter.

It has been reported that almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted, throwing communities living around its shores into disarray. The region’s ice cover normally persists for at least another month but this year it has vanished earlier than any other year except 2017.

Located in the northern Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia, the Bering Sea is experiencing the brunt of climate change and has already drawn attention this year for unprecedented levels of winter melting.

The disappearance of ice off the coast of Alaska
In February, soaring Arctic temperatures led to around half the region’s ice disappearing in the space of two weeks. This trend has continued into spring and scientists confirmed that by the end of April just 10

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Unpredictable UK weather causes upside down hay fever

Posted on: April 27, 2018

From the bitterly cold, sub-zero temperature snow storms of the Beast from the East to the sweltering, sunny Mediterranean climate of Spring, the last few weeks has been a real lesson in how unpredictable and contrasting the UK’s weather can be. From keeping warm in the icy conditions it changed last week to keeping ice cool in the car under the hot sun!  And now it seems we are entering a period of soggy dampness which pleases no-one except the farmers!

Allergy worsens at wrong times of day
And the changing weather we are having seems to be the cause of a new health phenomenon. Whilst normally you would associate hay fever with warmer, sunnier weather, it appears that a new airborne allergy has been uncovered, that of upside-down hay fever.

Under normal circumstances, you would expect hay fever to calm down when the sunshine disappears and it rains, but for some, it’s actually the reverse.

It seems that sufferers of upside-down hay fever typically experience their symptoms at the wrong time.

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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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