Temperatures fell to dangerous levels across the country on Thursday as a cold front swept down from Canada across the continent.
According to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), all lower 48 states can expect temperatures below 20 degrees by Christmas Eve.
In many places, this change is happening at a breathtaking rate — resulting in a drop of 20 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour or less, the NOAA warned.
In Cheyenne, Wyo., temperatures dropped by 40 degrees — from 43 F to 3 F — in half an hour, according to the local branch of the National Weather Service (NWS).
And Denver International Airport saw a drop of 37 degrees — from 42 F to 5 F — in one hour, according to the local NWS office.
Other regions saw less dramatic but still alarming declines.
“When we woke up at 4 a.m., it was 25 degrees — and it was 13 and it snowed around 7 degrees,” Joe Maxwell, farmer Joe Maxwell from Missouri, told Equilibrium.
Maxwell, leader of a group that works for small farmers who are on the front lines of climate change, added that temperatures were below minus 25 F when it was windy.
Other extremes are coming. Next week, Maxwell said, Missouri could expect a “wild swing” in the opposite direction — according to The Weather Channel, highs will be back in the 50s by New Year’s Day.
Denver, meanwhile, can expect highs in the 50s by Christmas Day, as can Cheyenne until December 27, according to the Weather Channel.
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Today, we’ll be following the impact of the huge storm on the Americas, from canceled flights to iguanas falling from trees. In addition: Some good news about emissions from Europe and the urgent risk of climate-related tipping points.
The effects of the storm are being felt across the country
According to tracking website FlightAware, more than 2,000 US flights were canceled as the country’s airports collapsed due to the ongoing winter storm.
The cancellations at airports, which are generally used to extreme cold, are a measure of the severity of the storm.
- Around a quarter of the flights arriving at or departing from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and St. Louis Lambert International Airport had been canceled as of press time.
- Meanwhile, Denver International Airport cancellations amounted to around 30 percent for arrivals and 24 percent for departures.
Hard linchpin: These conditions meant tough decisions for passengers who wanted to stay one step ahead of the storm, ABC7 Chicago reported.
- “Our flight was canceled at 8 AM this morning, so my husband will try to get us on another flight, but if not, we’ll have to rent a car,” said one traveler.
- “It costs an additional 500 dollars to rent a car, so it’s going to be difficult.”
What about the power grid? According to St. Louis-based station KSDK, power outages are entirely possible due to blowing snow and strong winds.
According to the tracking site Poweroutage.us:
- More than 26,000 were without power in Texas
- About 12,000 were without power in Oregon
- And nearly 6,500 were without power in Oklahoma
will reach life-threatening lows, but according to the Texas Tribune, officials are confident that electricity will continue even during the storm.
ABSPERRUNGEN PLAGEN MIETER
Some of the country’s 44 million tenants are facing the storm — which the National Weather Service described as “once in a generation” — and the added burden of landlords shutting down utility lines.
Texas: In Austin, property managers have shut off the water in an apartment complex — residents are still inside, Nexstar station KXAN reported.
- “I just woke up and the signage was out there,” said Ming Dan, a resident of the building.
- This move is likely illegal, a local nonprofit housing organization told KXAN.
Oklahoma: In Oklahoma City, some families have settled into rental apartments without working heating, Nexstar station KFOR reported.
- Residents told the outlet that landlords had failed to repair the faulty heater in time before the storm hit.
- “I feel bad, terrible. I’m worried because who knows if we’ll wake up the next day not to say so, but that’s how I feel,” Tanya Sanders, a mother of three, told KFOR.
A lawyer told KFOR that “it simply seems impossible for landlords to provide living space without basic services such as heating.”
Iguanas could fall from trees if storm hits Florida
As the transcontinental arctic storm approaches the east coast this weekend, South Floridians could find iguanas falling from trees, the Washington Post reported.
Fall from trees? Yup. According to the Post, the cold air is expected to make cold-blooded animals immobile.
- Iguanas that relax in branches could lose their grip and fall to the ground.
- Sea turtles could also become weak — a condition known as “cold stupor” — and be washed ashore from Texas to New England.
Why such drastic effects? “They change the environment, and the organisms that feel it first and most strongly are the ectotherms,” Martha Muñoz from Yale University told the Post, referring to cold-blooded animals.
- This is because their bodily function depends on thermal conditions, explained Muñoz.
- And this weekend, according to the Post, there will likely be temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit across much of Florida.
Is that unprecedented? No, but it is also not an everyday occurrence. When forecasts predict a drop in temperature to the low 40s, Miami’s National Weather Service sometimes warns of a “falling iguana,” Fox 13 News in Tampa Bay reported.
- Such weather warnings have been issued over the last two winters.
- However, this situation “doesn’t happen regularly,” Ron Magill, director of communications for Zoo Miami, told Fox 13.
Residents should be careful: According to Fox 13, wildlife experts warned against touching the iguanas because they could warm up again and become defensive at some point.
They also advised treading carefully under trees, as iguanas can also reach almost 5 feet long and weigh almost 20 pounds, Fox 13 reported.
Iguanas can handle it, but turtles can’t: Although iguanas are still likely to fall, researchers are finding that they no longer become quite as incapacitated as they used to — which suggests that the animals may be adapting to evolving climate conditions, the Post reported.
However, other reptiles, including sea turtles, do not seem to adapt quite as well to the unusual conditions, according to the newspaper.
Saving the turtles: If these stunned sea turtles aren’t found quickly enough, they can be attacked by birds or coyotes, Donna Shaver from the National Park Service told the Post.
“They’re not adapting,” she said.
Widespread effects on animals: According to Nexstar station Fox 4 Kansas City, the Kansas City Zoo closed its doors all day on Thursday in hopes of ensuring animal safety.
- Workers at Blank Park Zoo in Iowa monitored indoor storage areas with temperature sensors and lights, reported Local 5 News, a subsidiary of ABC.
- Dairy farmers in Missouri, meanwhile, switched animals through a heated milking house and told KMBC that although cows like cold, “they don’t like bitter cold.”
Contrary to expectations, EU emissions fell this fall
Carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union hit a 30-year low in November, turning forecasts on their head that an increase in fossil fuel imports would have the opposite effect, a new report found.
Emissions remain low: According to the report, an ongoing energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised concerns that a subsequent scramble over fossil fuels would lead to an increase in the bloc’s emissions.
- However, authors found that emissions and coal consumption fell for the third time in a row in November.
- The report was published on Thursday by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
Clarifying a misunderstanding: The report, which was based on recording carbon dioxide emissions in the EU, attributed these surprising developments to a “misunderstanding” about the purchase of resources compared to actual consumption.
- The EU increased its imports of fossil fuels to replace lost supplies after Moscow suspended natural gas exports and the bloc in turn banned Russian coal imports.
- Weak nuclear and hydropower production also boosted demand for coal and gas at the beginning of 2022.
- Nonetheless, the block also saw a dramatic drop in fossil fuel consumption.
Why was there such a reduction? The authors linked this decline to the impact of high prices on demand combined with an increase in wind and solar energy production.
- Both coal and gas energy declined in November compared to the previous year.
- Coal’s share of thermal power generation rose, as the decline in gas generation was around four times as large as the fall in coal production.
- But both solar and wind output set new records in November 2022.
Environmental protection was crucial: “However, the main reason for the drop in emissions is the reduction in electricity and gas consumption, which is due to high prices,” the authors say.
The resulting protective measures — such as lowering indoor temperatures — kept demand low, while relatively mild weather conditions did not have such a significant impact, according to the report.
To read more from the report and what emissions are expected to bring in December, click here to read the full story.
Climate tipping points possible at current levels
a new study, dangerous climate tipping points are possible even with the current global warming.
- Laut Nico Wunderling vom Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung ist die Beziehung einfach.
- „Wir haben festgestellt, dass das Risiko für das Auftreten mindestens eines Kippereignisses mit steigenden Spitzentemperaturen zunimmt“, sagte Wunderling, der die Studie mitverfasst hat, in einer Erklärung.
The probability of the collapse of vital Earth systems rises to 50 percent if global warming exceeds 4 degrees Celsius (6.4 Fahrenheit) — even if society later successfully brings it to a safe level, according to the study in Nature Climate Change.
In die Gefahrenzone: Die vollständige Vermeidung eines solchen Zusammenbruchs ist nur bei einer
globalen Erwärmung von weniger als 1 °C (1,8 F) über dem vorindustriellen Niveau möglich, erklärten die Autoren.
Wo sind wir jetzt? Die globalen Durchschnittstemperaturen liegen derzeit 1,2 °C über den vorindustriellen Temperaturen.
Klicken Sie hier für die ganze Geschichte.
Drohungen am Donnerstag
Millionen von US-Kindern leiden unter Ernährungsunsicherheit, aktuelle Naturschutzinitiativen retten die antarktische Tierwelt nicht und der undichte Achillesferse von grünem Wasserstoff.
Die Ernährungsunsicherheit in den USA bleibt hoch, da die Preise steigen
- Millionen amerikanischer Kinder bekommen nicht jeden Tag genug Nahrung, während einige Lebensmittelbanken angeben, dass sie aufgrund der eskalierenden Inflationsraten eine höhere Nachfrage verzeichnen, berichteten unsere Kollegen von NewsNation. Die Nahrungsmittelknappheit ist in Louisiana nach wie vor am höchsten, gefolgt von Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma und Washington, D.C.
Naturschutzmaßnahmen reichen nicht aus, um den Rückgang der biologischen Vielfalt in der Antarktis zu verhindern: Studie
- Laut einer neuen Studie in PLoS Biology dürften bis 2100 65 Prozent der antarktischen Wildtiere aufgrund unzureichender Naturschutzmaßnahmen von Bevölkerungsrückgängen betroffen sein. Eine Investition von 23 Millionen US-Dollar in 10 Schlüsselstrategien, die von Wissenschaftlern der University of Queensland detailliert beschrieben wurden, könnte jedoch bis zu 84 Prozent der Landvogel-, Pflanzen- und Säugetiergruppen helfen.
Lecks könnten den Klimavorteil von grünem Wasserstoff zunichte machen
- Während grüner Wasserstoff weithin als Klimalösung angepriesen wird, weist die Ressource einen potenziell fatalen Fehler auf: Lecks, die selbst bei einer Rate von nur 10 Prozent die Klimavorteile des Kraftstoffs zunichte machen würden, berichtete Reuters. Laut Reuters sind Wasserstoffmoleküle weitaus kleiner als sie notorisch undicht sind als Methan, der Hauptbestandteil von Erdgas.
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