Weather News In Brief - 12 Jan 2011

COLD WEATHER TO RETURN: Irish Weather Online forecaster Peter O’Donnell is predicting a return to colder weather in Ireland next week with a more severe spell of weather likely before the end of the month.  Updating his Winter forecast, Peter said: “There is likely to be a return of wintry weather conditions after 20 January and especially from  27 January onwards." 

"There is no precise information available in this method to say whether February might be another extremely cold month or just more of a 1-2 C below normal type of anomaly, but either way snow is favoured. I would say watch the period around the first week of February for possible snowfalls, and mid-February for more of a battleground sort of pattern where, if it can stay cold, winter storms are possible, and if the cold relents a bit, rain would spread in from the southwest. Another cold period indicated is near the end of February and first week of March.”

  • AUSTRALIA: Reuters reports that climate change has likely intensified the monsoon rains that have triggered record floods in Australia's Queensland state, scientists said on Wednesday, with several months of heavy rain and storms still to come. But while scientists say a warmer world is predicted to lead to more intense droughts and floods, it wasn't yet possible to say if climate change would trigger stronger La Nina and El Nino weather patterns that can cause weather chaos across the globe.  67 people are missing following devastating flooding in Brisbane.
    USA: A US company and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will announce Wednesday that they are launching an ambitious project that aims to precisely gauge how human activity is affecting the climate, reports the Washington Post. The $25 million, five-year commercial venture will include 50 sensors in the United States and another 50 around the world to measure atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.  
  • CANADA:   Weather continues to wreak havoc in Alberta. Read more from the Vancouver Sun
  • CHINA: China's meteorological authorities said Tuesday freezing weather and icy rain will continue to hit south China over the next three days, adding to the region's transport misery. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) Tuesday kept its yellow alert for freezing temperatures in south China, including for the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Jiangxi, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Meanwhile, central and western parts of Guizhou Province and some parts of Hunan Province will also be hit by icy rain over the next three days, the NMC said in a statement on its website. MORE
  • HAITI: It was a year ago, that the Caribbean nation of Haiti was struck by a powerful earthquake that killed up to 300 000 people, and injured hundreds of thousands more. Since 12 January 2010, Haiti has also suffered a hurricane, floods, cholera and election violence.

  • BAA has said that the winter weather disruption at Heathrow and its other airports cost the operator £24m, Sky News reports. In December 7.2m passengers used its six UK airports - including Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh - a fall of 10.9%.
  • The soon to be released Motorola Xoom tablet, which is running on the upcoming Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system, may be just the ticket for weather enthusiasts with a few schillings to spare.  to the specifications released by the company, there's a barometer hidden under the hood. Used to measure atmospheric pressure, it not only tells you the altitude, but also predicts the weather.  The larger the change in pressure, the greater the likelihood of rain. MORE
  • Retail giant Marks & Spencer reported difficult trading conditions in Ireland in the months leading up to Christmas, according to the Irish Examiner.  The company did not give a breakdown on its Irish operations but said international sales were up 4.5% in the 13 weeks to January 1, which it said reflected a good performance across most markets offset by difficult trading conditions in Ireland and Greece. 
  • Scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms on Earth, a phenomenon never seen before, reports NASA's science publication. Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed inside thunderstorms in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected. "These signals are the first direct evidence that thunderstorms make antimatter particle beams," said Michael Briggs, a member of Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). He presented the findings Monday, during a news briefing at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. MORE
An artist's concept of antimatter spraying above a thunderhead