Exceptional Snow-Year In Northern Italy; Winter Begins With a Bang In South America; Tasmania Freezes; + “Tonga Volcano Prime Suspect”

Exceptional Snow-Year In Northern Italy

2024 is proving an impressive year for snow in the European Alps, and an inconvenient one for the warmists.

I’ve written about the record-accumulations on Swiss glaciers, but the same is being witnessed across northern Italy.

In the first six months of 2024, the administrative region of Lombardy –for example– has posted well-above average accumulations across all of its glaciers, particularly on the Adamello.

Contrary to AGW Party predictions of ‘forever less’ (more on that below), data from the Arpa Lombardia Nivometeorological Center reveal that between May and June, the period of maximum accumulation, Lombardy’s glacial basins logged depths of as much as 40 meters (131 feet).

Conducting 55 core samples and numerous snow depth measurements, Arpa Lombardia data show that glaciers like Adamello, Pisgana, Alpe Sud, and Savoretta witnessed snowfall well above the historical average, 10 meters (32.8 feet) above in many cases

Furthermore, this year’s snow is dense and compact, and is so far withstanding summer warmth, reducing the glacial melt season which will contribute to a season of limited drought.

Endless mainstream studies foresaw the Alps suffering significant declines in snow cover and glacier mass by now.

One study, led by the University of Bayreuth and published in 2012, projected that Alpine ski resorts would lose 80 snow cover days annually by the mid-2020s if high emission scenarios continued.

Likewise, a Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (2019) paper projected that the Alps would see substantial snow cover reduction by 2025. The study indicated that the number of snow cover days could halve, with severe impacts on water availability and local ecosystems.

While a Eurac Research study, published in 2022, suggested that, due to cLiMaTe ChAnGe, the Alps could see a reduction in snow cover by up to 50% by 2025.

Despite the prophesies, the snowfalls of 2024 have led to great summer glacier skiing conditions, with well-above average pack.

Even into July, skiing and snowboarding is on offer in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, at the following resorts:

  • Hintertux, Austria
  • Tignes, France
  • Val d’Isere, France
  • Cervinia, Italy
  • Passo Stelvio, Italy
  • Zermatt, Switzerland

Winter Begins With a Bang In South America

The ski season in South America is off to a spectacular start, with resorts opening earlier than usual due to record snowfall.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for ski areas, though.

Las Leñas, Argentina had planned a pre-opening on June 20 but had to cancel due to avalanches, road closures, and excessive snow. The resort is now open with a snow depth of more than 1.2 meters (4 feet) at the base, with 6+ meters (20+ feet) up top.

“We were excited about the pre-opening, but weather conditions made it impossible,” the resort stated. “The snow accumulation was so significant that even the access road had to be closed by provincial authorities. We thank our visitors, collaborators, friends, and suppliers for their understanding and trust, as safety is our priority in such natural events.”

Cerro Catedral, also in Argentina did manage to open in early-June and is enjoying a bumper start to the season. Likewise in Chile, conditions are proving remarkable.

The data tell the story. Since the record-setting start in May, snow extent across the South American continent has consistently challenged records:

And there looks to be little letup in sight.

Polar air is forecast to push even further north this week, into southern Brazil even…

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) July 8 [tropicaltidbits.com].

…advancing the snowline with it:

GFS Total Snowfall (cm) July 8 – 20 [tropicaltidbits.com].

Looking elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand are yet to be hit with any big snow dumps. Although temperatures have been more than cold enough for flakes to form, the necessary weather systems haven’t blown in.

Recently though, snow has started to arrive across resorts in both Australia and New Zealand, backing up the work done by snow cannons.

The NZ ski season has been “jump-started by natural snowfall,” so reads local reports, with South Island resorts the first to open, followed by a host on the North Island.

Whakapapa, in particular, welcomed 12,000 visitors over the first two days.

“It’s been a brilliant Matariki weekend, an amazing kickoff for us here at Whakapapa,” said operations manager Steve Manunui.

Tasmania Freezes

Australia’s cold has indeed been noteworthy. Eastern and Southern regions in particular have felt the chill, including Tasmania where, among statewide hazards, freezes have closed the Great Lake Hotel in the Central Highlands.

The hotel, located on the Marlborough Highway in Miena, suffered significant damage from frozen pipes and heavy frost, with temperatures in the area plummeting to record-breaking lows, including the historic -13.5C (7.7F) logged by nearby Liawenee.

Initially planning to reopen on Saturday, the hotel will now remain closed until at least July 10. “We are literally stuck without water and will be unable to open until [the pipes] thaw out,” a spokesperson said, thanking folk for their understanding.

The school holidays have been disrupted more broadly, with Tasmania Police warning drivers of dangerous road conditions due to ice and snow. They emphasized the risk of black ice and urged caution, with more than 50 main roads under official alerts.

Overnight temperatures Sunday dropped to -10.5C (13.1F) in Liawenee, -6.2C (20.8F) in Butlers Gorge, -5.3C (22.5F) in Fingal, and -4.5C (23.9F) in Launceston Airport and Cressy. In Campbell Town, a frozen fountain has become a local attraction.

[John Chandler]

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting continued anomalous cold, particularly as July progresses.

“Tonga Volcano Prime Suspect”

Just over a year before the abrupt warming, in January 2022, an unusual VEI 5 volcanic eruption took place in Tonga.

While there have been several VEI 5 or higher eruptions in the last 200 years, the majority haven’t affected the global climate in any significant way. Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai is one of the exceptions. Its eruption was a submarine one, at a very shallow depth (about 150m/500ft below the sea surface), and as a consequence it ejected 150 million tons of water into the stratosphere.

In 200 years of records, the only one other VEI 5+ submarine eruption occurred in 1924 off the Japanese island of Iriomote at a depth of 200m/660ft, but this did not have anywhere near the same atmospheric affects as Hunga Tonga. It is believe the Tonga explosion occurred at just the right depth to project the most water into the stratosphere.

The Tonga eruption is considered a once-in-a-200-year event, likely much rarer.

“Science was fortunate to witness it,” writes Javier Vinós.

We know strong volcanic eruptions reaching the stratosphere can significantly affect the climate for a few years, with effects often delayed by over a year. The eruption of Mount Tambora in April 1815, for example, had a global climate impact but it took 15 months for the effect to develop, eventually resulting in the “year without a summer” in 1816.

These delayed effects coincided with the appearance of a sulfate aerosol veil in the Northern Hemisphere due to seasonal changes in global stratospheric circulation.

The figure below shows the modern water vapor anomaly in the stratosphere between 15 and 40 km altitude. The large darkening created by the Tonga eruption appears in the Northern Hemisphere in 2023 and coincides with the abrupt warming.

Stratospheric water vapor anomaly at 45°N.

“Because the Tonga eruption is unprecedented, there is much about its effects that we do not understand,” continues Vinós. “But we do know that the planetary greenhouse effect is very sensitive to changes in stratospheric water vapor because, unlike the troposphere, the stratosphere is very dry and far from greenhouse saturation.”

Post-Tonga, water vapor increased by at least 10% due to the 150 million+ tons released into the stratosphere.

Global water vapor anomaly above 68hPa.

The stratosphere is now beginning to dry out again, but it is a slow processes, taking between 3 to 7 years.

Vinós concludes that the unprecedented and abrupt warming, unexplained by modern climate models, cannot logically be attributed to the usual suspects such as El Niño or reduced sulfur emissions, certainly not CO2.

“We have an absolutely unprecedented volcanic eruption, the effects of which we cannot know, but which, according to what we know about the greenhouse effect, should cause significant and abrupt warming. Of course, we cannot conclude that the warming was caused by the volcano, but it is clear that it is by far the most likely suspect.”

Mainstream climate scientists like NASA’s Gavin Schmidt argue, without evidence, that the Tonga volcano cannot be responsible for the 2023 warming spike. But we know that if the effect were planetary cooling, a coinciding volcanic eruption would be blamed without hesitation. Significant natural warming undermines the story that CO2 is the be-all and end-all.

Schmidt says: “The 2023 temperature anomaly has come out of the blue, revealing an unprecedented knowledge gap perhaps for the first time in about 40 years. It could imply that a warming planet is already fundamentally altering how the climate system operates, much sooner than scientists had anticipated.”

Rather than accept that the unprecedented injection of 150 million+ tons of water vapor into the stratosphere could be to blame for the warming spike, or even discuss the possibility, Schmidt instead suggests that we humans ‘have broken the climate’.

He is safeguarding the narrative, like all good puppets.

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