Frigid Storm Closes California Freeways, Drops Snow in Malibu


Dec. 17: An ambulance rolls over and crashes in the snow in El Mirage, Calif. AP/The Sun

LOS ANGELES –  Snow snarled major mountain highways and even dusted Malibu on Wednesday as a cold storm hit parts of California. One person was killed by a wind-related helicopter crash, and an overflowing river on the U.S.-Mexico border led to the evacuation of nearly two dozen people, rescues of about 50 horses and the deaths of four others.

Styming thousands of commuters and travelers, snow shut Interstate 15 over 4,190-foot Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles and roads through the San Gabriel Mountains connecting metropolitan Los Angeles to the commuter suburbs of Palmdale and Lancaster in the high desert to the north.

Interstate 5, a major trucking and travel route connecting Southern California with the Central Valley and Northern California, stayed open over 4,144-foot Tejon Pass most of the day, with on-and-off Highway Patrol escorts, then finally was shut down in the afternoon as conditions deteriorated. Massive backups developed below all the passes.

Read moreFrigid Storm Closes California Freeways, Drops Snow in Malibu

Snowstorms cause chaos across Europe’s ski resorts

Ski resorts temporarily closed this week after heavy snowfall sparked avalanche warnings in the Alps.


Mark Wilkinson’s flat in Val d’Isere following heavy snow on Sunday night

Ski resorts across Europe were forced to close temporarily this week after snowstorms brought chaos to the region.

Almost a metre of snow fell overnight on Sunday sparking avalanche warnings in many European resorts.

In Val d’Isere, France, skiers were trapped in the resort on Monday amid fears of an avalanche on the road down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice after 80cm fell.

In Alagna, Italy, the resort was forced to close after more than a metre of fresh snow fell, while in Zermatt, Switzerland, only four ski lifts were open after 80cm of snowfall. Saas Fee was cut off for three days due to a high avalanche risk, but the road re-opened today allowing cars and supplies into the resort.

A spokesman for the Ski Club of Great Britain said that some resorts in Europe had seen the heaviest December snowfalls for at least 10 years.

Read moreSnowstorms cause chaos across Europe’s ski resorts

Dry South Australia buys in water

The dry bed of the Hume Weir, Murray-Darling basin Australia is facing its worst drought in a century

Australia’s driest state has decided to buy in water supplies amid fears it will run out next year.

South Australia said it had spent tens of millions of dollars to ensure Adelaide, Australia’s fifth-largest city, and the state had enough water.

State Premier Mike Rann described it as a “prudent and sensible” measure.

Drought has become a regular occurrence in South Australia, which already receives the least rainfall of any Australian state.

Lack of rainfall and a sharp reduction in the amount of water flowing into the Murray River meant the state could not guarantee water levels for 2009.

The state’s water security minister, Karlene Maywald, said she had purchased 61 billion gallons (231 gigalitres) of extra water for 2009.

Read moreDry South Australia buys in water

Stubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Second only to the melting of the Arctic ice and those “drowning” polar bears, there is no scare with which the global warmists, led by Al Gore, more like to chill our blood than the fast-vanishing glaciers of the Himalayas, which help to provide water for a sixth of mankind.

Read moreStubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Mile-thick glaciers found on Mars

A mountain on Mars
A mountain in the eastern Hellas region of Mars

Huge glaciers up to half a mile thick have been discovered close to the equator of Mars and are thought to be the remnants of an ice age on the planet.

The glaciers are thought to have been formed up to 100 million years ago and are the “most dramatic” evidence yet of climate change on Mars.

Hundreds of glaciers have been identified by researchers using ground-penetrating radar that allows them to see through a rocky layer of debris covering the ice.

The biggest of the glaciers are up to 13 miles long and more than 60 miles wide and represent a potential source of water for astronauts on missions to Mars.

Read moreMile-thick glaciers found on Mars

George W Bush may lift protections on endangered animals and plants

Animals and plants in danger of extinction could lose the protection of government experts who make sure that infrastructure projects don’t pose a threat, under regulations outgoing US president George W Bush is set to put in place before he leaves office.

Geogre Bush: opponents claim he will introduce a number of 'midnight regulations' before leaving office
Geogre Bush: opponents claim he will introduce a number of ‘midnight regulations’ before leaving office Photo: AP

The rules must be published on Friday to take effect before President-Elect Barack Obama is sworn in Jan 20.

The proposed change would eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, allowing the federal agency in charge of building, authorising or funding a project to determine for itself if it is likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.

Current regulations require independent wildlife biologists to sign off on these decisions before a project can go forward, at times modifying the design to better protect species.

It is among several rule changes that environmentalists say Mr Bush has or will introduce in what are known as “midnight regulations”.

Though he would not be the first president to follow the practice, environmental campaigners fear he will sneak through as many changes as possible on energy, climate change and the environment, having been unable to pass full legislation through the Democrat-controlled Congress.

He has already opened up 800,000 hectares of land in Rocky Mountain states for the development of oil shale, and is reportedly considering allowing industrial-size pig, cow and chicken farms to disregard the Clean Water Act and air pollution controls.

Read moreGeorge W Bush may lift protections on endangered animals and plants

The world has never seen such freezing heat

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

A sudden cold snap brought snow to London in October

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China’s official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its “worst snowstorm ever”. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Related article: Global warning: We are actually heading towards a new Ice Age, claim scientists

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs – run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious “hockey stick” graph – GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new “hotspot” in the Arctic – in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

Read moreThe world has never seen such freezing heat

Global warning: We are actually heading towards a new Ice Age, claim scientists

It has plagued scientists and politicians for decades, but scientists now say global warming is not the problem.

We are actually heading for the next Ice Age, they claim.

British and Canadian experts warned the big freeze could bury the east of Britain in 6,000ft of ice.


A taste of the future: Plunging temperatures around Britain created dramatic 2-ft icicles over Sleightholme River in County Durham

Most of Scotland, Northern Ireland and England could be covered in 3,000ft-thick ice fields.

The expanses could reach 6,000ft from Aberdeen to Kent – towering above Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain.

And what’s more, the experts blame the global change on falling – rather than climbing – levels of greenhouse gases.

Lead author Thomas Crowley from the University of Edinburgh and Canadian colleague William Hyde say that currently vilified greenhouse gases – such as carbon dioxide – could actually be the key to averting the chill.

The warning, published in the authoritative journal Nature, is based on records of tiny marine fossils and the earth’s shifting orbit.


The Big chill: Experts warn that 3,000ft ice sheets could cover most of Britain

The Earth has seen dramatic climate fluctuations – veering between cold and warm extremes – over the past three million years, the researchers say.

And changes in the Earth’s orbit and slowly falling levels of carbon dioxide are the cause.

The team says we are approaching a turning point, in the next 10,000 to 100,000 years, which will lead to the new ice sheets smothering much of Europe, Asia and South America.

The theory, which is based on computer models, suggests ice sheets will also slash sea levels by up to 300m, so Russia and Alaska will be connected by land.

Read moreGlobal warning: We are actually heading towards a new Ice Age, claim scientists

Thousands Still Without Power in Upstate New York After Snow Storm


Oct. 28: A snow plow clears a highway in Westerlo, N.Y.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Nearly 40,000 utility customers remain without power in eastern New York a day after more than a foot of snow fell on some areas.

National Grid has about 25,000 customers without power Wednesday morning, most in the Mohawk Valley and Adirondacks.

New York State Electric & Gas reports about 13,300 outages, most in the Catskills. Power is expected to be restored to most customers on Wednesday.

The storm dumped wet, heavy snow on trees still covered in leaves, bringing limbs down on power lines.

The National Weather Service reports snowfall totals ranging from 13 inches in northern New York to 15 inches along the northwestern edge of the Catskill Mountains.

Read moreThousands Still Without Power in Upstate New York After Snow Storm