Weather News In Brief - Dec 30 2010

Canal remains frozen in Dublin today, 4 days after the return of milder weather. Pic Shane Creevy
The record-breaking cold snap that brought Ireland to its knees this month was little to compare with the Great Irish Frost of 1740 that killed more than a third of the population, reports today’s Irish Independent. Between 310,000 and 480,000 people out of a population of 2.4 million are believed to have died during the Great Frost which swept across Ireland between 1739 and 1741, according to a new book called 'Arctic Ireland' .  By Trinity College history professor David Dickson, the book explores the causes of the calamity.
  • Business Insider reports: This one isn't part of Ireland's draconian austerity package, but it will add to the pain. A sudden 25 degree surge in temperatures has caused the ground to shift, breaking pipes across the country. As a result, hundreds of thousands of households are facing weeks without water or severe restrictions to supply, according to the Independent. Cities like Dublin and Cork have already started imposing nighttime supply restrictions, resulting in little-to-no water pressure. Likewise in Northern Ireland, 40,000 people were without running water, some for as long as a week, according to The Guardian.
  • The Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. are not the only areas dealing with holiday snowfall. Ireland was recently swathed in white on December 22, 2010. When NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a true-color image of the snow. The overnight arrival of 15 cm (6 in) of snow at the Dublin airport forced its closure. Combined with the closure of the City of Derry airport, travel became quite difficult.  MORE from NASA.
  • Flooding in Australia's rural northeast has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes as the situation goes from bad to worse, reports Sky News. Officials have warned the flooding could last for weeks, as fears of food shortages and disease outbreaks in the area have forced more than 1,000 residents to be evacuated.  More from
  • Lord Stirling describes how the Gulf Oil tragedy has affected the weather worldwide, the Jet stream 5 to 7 miles above the Sea is driven by the waters (the Gulf Stream) below, this has caused (or exacerbated) freak weather in Russia, and South and North America.

  • A few years ago mild winters were the norm, but three harsh winters have now culminated in recent record-breaking cold in NE USA and NW Europe. A speed bump in the progression of global warming? Or does the severe cold herald a dip into a sunspot-induced mini Ice Age?
    Climatologist and Irish Weather Online forecaster Peter O'Donnell speaks to Fintan Dunne about the weather patterns now ruling and to discuss the prospects for the winter ahead. 

Download the full interview HERE

Fintan Dunne is a US-based journalist whose websites include Fintan Dunne Independent Journalist Blog, Fintan Dunne News, 911DejaVu - The Glitch In The Matrix, and seaofgreenradio.